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Parasites of native and nonnative fishes of the Little Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Arizona

January 1, 2004

A 2-yr, seasonal, parasitological study of 1,435 fish, belonging to 4 species of native fishes and 7 species of nonnative fishes from the lower Little Colorado River (LCR) and tributary creeks, Grand Canyon, Arizona, yielded 17 species of parasites. These comprised 1 myxozoan (Henneguya exilis), 2 copepods (Ergasilus arthrosis and Lernaea cyprinacea), 1 acarine (Oribatida gen. sp.), 1 piscicolid leech (Myzobdella lugubris), 4 monogeneans (Gyrodactylus hoffmani, Gyrodactylus sp., Dactylogyrus extensus, and Ligictaluridus floridanus), 4 nematodes (Contracaecum sp., Eustrongylides sp., Rhabdochona sp., and Truttaedacnitis truttae), 3 cestodes (Bothriocephalus acheilognathi, Corallobothrium fimbriatum, and Megathylacoides giganteum), and 2 trematodes (Ornithodiplostomum sp. and Posthodiplostomum sp.). Rhabdochona sp. was the only adult parasite native to the LCR. Infection intensities of Ornithodiplostomum sp. and B. acheilognathi were positively correlated with length of the humpback chub Gila cypha. Adult helminths showed a high degree of host specificity, except B. acheilognathi, which was recovered from all fish species examined but was most abundant in cyprinids. Abundance of B. acheilognathi in the humpback chub was highest in the fall and lowest in the summer in both reaches of the LCR. There was no major taxonomic difference in parasite assemblages between the 2 different reaches of the river (LC1 and LC2). Parasite community diversity was very similar in humpback chub, regardless of sampling site or time. The parasite fauna of the LCR is numerically dominated by B. acheilognathi and metacercariae of Ornithodiplostomum sp. The richest and most diverse component community occurred in a nonnative species, the channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus, but infracommunity species richness was highest in a native host, humpback chub.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2004
Title Parasites of native and nonnative fishes of the Little Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Arizona
DOI 10.1645/GE-3244
Authors A. Choudhury, T.L. Hoffnagle, Rebecca A. Cole
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Parasitology
Index ID 70026694
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Wildlife Health Center