Leptorhynchoides thecatus (Linton, 1891), an acanthocephalan parasite of freshwater fishes, varies in host use, development, and habitat use throughout North America. Spatial structure of these characteristics was examined from data extracted from the literature. Geographic patterns were inferred from point comparisons using correllograms and then tested with Moran's I statistic for global and local significance, and visually from regional means within major river drainages. Species of Micropterus Lacepède, 1802 (black basses) were common hosts in most regions, except the Lower Mississippi and South Atlantic regions where species of Lepomis Rafinesque, 1819 (sunfishes) were common hosts. Development, described as the proportions of adults relative to cystacanths (extraintestinal juveniles), decreased with latitude. Habitat use of L. thecatus showed marked geographic patterns. Leptorhynchoides thecatus occurred in the intestine of sunfishes in the South Atlantic and Lower Mississippi regions, in the ceca in fish of all species included in the study in the Missouri and Texas-Gulf regions, and both in ceca and intestines in fish of all species in northern regions. Leptorhynchoides thecatus showed geographic patterning within the variable traits across the range of the species. These patterns may be the result of ecological factors or of genetic differences that might indicate L. thecatus comprises multiple cryptic species.
GEOGRAPHIC ANALYSIS OF HOST USE, DEVELOPMENT, AND HABITAT USE OF AN ACANTHOCEPHALAN SPECIES, LEPTORHYNCHOIDES THECATUS
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Michelle L. Steinauer, James E. Parham, Brent B. Nickol; GEOGRAPHIC ANALYSIS OF HOST USE, DEVELOPMENT, AND HABITAT USE OF AN ACANTHOCEPHALAN SPECIES, LEPTORHYNCHOIDES THECATUS. J Parasitol 1 June 2006; 92 (3): 464–472. doi: https://doi.org/10.1645/GE-708R.1
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