We quantified Neobenedenia melleni from the skin of Caribbean surgeonfishes (Acanthuridae) from June through October 2005 and 2007. Prevalence, or mean intensity of infection, or both, varied significantly among the 3 species, and among sites and between years for the most heavily infected species, blue tang (Acanthurus coeruleus). Among 6 sites sampled, no more than 12% of ocean surgeonfish (Acanthurus bahianus) were infected, compared with 10 to 100% of A. coeruleus. The prevalence of infection among doctorfish (Acanthurus chirurgus), collected at only 1 of the sites, was intermediate between the other 2 species (46%). Mean intensity (range) of infection for the few infected A. bahianus was 1 (1) to 3 (1–8), compared with 1.3 (1–2) to 14.3 (1–59) for A. coeruleus, and 2.5 (1–8) for A. chirurgus. Expected abundance of N. melleni on A. coeruleus from shallow bay sites was greater than for those from non-bay sites. Higher infections on A. coeruleus may be attributable to differences in habitat use, or susceptibility to infection, or both, compared to other species. Among site and between-year differences may be associated with differences in benthic habitat, or water conditions, or both. This system seems ideal for future comparative studies on the relationship between environmental variables and parasites on Caribbean coral reefs.

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