Contracaecum sp. larvae (L3) from fish were identified using nucleotide sequences of the internal transcribed spacers ITS-1 and ITS-2 of the ribosomal DNA. The nematode larvae originated from fish in a freshwater situation (crucian carp Carassius carassius, from Selment Wielki Lake in Mazury, northeastern Poland) and a brackish-water region (Caspian round goby Neogobius melanostomus from the Baltic Sea, Gdańsk Bay at the Polish coast). Two strains (Contracaecum rudolphii A and B) of Contracaecum rudolphii senso lato, a parasite common at the adult stage in fish-eating birds, were identified. In fish from the freshwater site, only the strain temporarily designated C. rudolphii B was identified; in the brackish-water region, both strains were found, suggesting that fish serve as paratenic host for both genotypes. Contracaecum rudolphii sensu lato has been recorded in several species of fish-eating birds in Poland, particularly in the great cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo, in which the abundance is highest. The results, although based on a restricted number of larvae, suggest that the life cycles of both genotypes can be completed in the Polish region and that at least one of them, C. rudolphii B, can develop both in fresh and brackish water.

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