Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-9-2018

Department

Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

Abstract

Compared with that of other charismatic elasmobranchs, the component community of metazoan parasites infecting endangered smalltooth sawfish Pristis pectinata is exceedingly poorly characterized: adults of Dermophthirioides pristidis and Neoheterocotyle inpristi (ectoparasitic flatworms of skin and gill, respectively) were the only confirmed parasites prior to the description, based on specimens reported herein, of Mycteronastes caalusi. Our opportune and directed parasitological examinations of 290 smalltooth sawfish (277 live inspections; 13 necropsies; 671 to 2640 mm stretch total length) in south Florida coastal waters revealed at least 8 species of Platyhelminthes, 9 of Arthropoda, 4 of Annelida, and 1 of Nematoda. This collection includes representatives of an undescribed species of Aporocotylidae (Digenea) and myriad new host records, considerably updating and advancing our understanding of smalltooth sawfish symbionts. We also confirm that D. pristidis and N. inpristi are extant and propose D. pristidis as a reliable biological tag. Some of these parasites are evidently highly host-specific and so vulnerable to extinction.

Publication Title

Endangered Species Research

Volume

35

First Page

47

Last Page

58

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