This article examined the composition of parasite assemblages of whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus) in 8 interconnected lakes in northeastern Finland and evaluated the role of coregonid specific parasites and the geographical distance between populations in determining the similarity of the assemblages. Parasite assemblages were compared using the Jaccard qualitative similarity index and a quantitative similarity index and by incorporating the allogenic–autogenic species concept and the effects of 2 corresponding measures of geographical distance between the lakes. The majority of the parasite species found (10 of 14) were specific to salmonids. Similarity of assemblages of autogenic parasites between the lakes was negatively correlated with geographical distance. The dominance of 2 parasite species, the whitefish specialist Ichthyocotylurus erraticus and the generalist Ergasilus sieboldi, was also demonstrated. We concluded that the high proportion of widespread parasite species specific to coregonids is an important determinant of similarity in these assemblages. However, ecological factors were likely to contribute to qualitative (presence of species) and quantitative (difference in abundances) differences between lakes, in the case of autogenic parasites, their importance increasing with geographical separation.

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