Helminth communities in sympatric black turnstones (Arenaria melanocephala), ruddy turnstones (Arenaria interpres), and dunlin (Calidris alpina) were examined over 4 summers in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The compound community, made up of component communities of all 3 species of hosts for 4 summer seasons (n = 164), consisted of 43 helminth species, with cestodes, especially Anomotaenia clavigera, accounting for 47% of the helminth species and 95% of the abundance. The black turnstone had significantly higher species richness and abundance than either the ruddy turnstone or dunlin. The congeneric black and ruddy turnstone component communities were the most similar, and the dunlin's was the least similar. New helminth species continued to be acquired in all 3 host species during years 2 to 4. There was no significant difference for abundance among sample years for each of the 3 species of host. The 3 component communities all included a predictable suite of helminths with 1 dominant species and 4 to 5 associates, a large number of less-predictable species, and a greater prevalence and abundance of cestode species. Consistencies over time included high diversity, low evenness, low species richness (<5), and continued recruitment of small numbers of helminth species with low prevalence and abundance. There was minimal circulation of helminth species between the dunlin and the 2 turnstone species, indicating a considerable degree of specialization, particularly among species of cestodes.

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