Abstract

Deepwater sculpin (Myoxocephalus thompsonii) were collected from 19 lakes across the species' distribution in Canada and examined for parasites. Six helminth species (Crepidostomum farionis, Bothriocephalus cuspidatus, Proteocephalus sp., Cyathocephalus truncatus, Raphidascaris acus, and Echinorhynchus salmonis), 1 crustacean species (Ergasilus nerkae), and 1 molluscan species (glochidia) parasitized these hosts. Crepidostomum farionis, Proteocephalus sp., R. acus, E. nerkae, and the glochidia represent new parasite records for this host species. Overall parasite prevalence was 78.0% while mean intensity was 6.1 ± 7.1 SD. Bothriocephalus cuspidatus was the most prevalent parasite and was recorded from 62.2% of the deepwater sculpin and found in 17 of the 19 lakes. The low-productivity habitat of this host limits the parasites available for transmission, and the infra- and component communities were generally species poor. With the exception of the Proteocephalus sp., all of the helminth parasites recovered have been reported as adults in lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) or burbot (Lota lota), suggesting that, in the lakes where they occur, deepwater sculpin may play an important role in energetic transfer and parasitic transmission to higher trophic levels.

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