Alternate Title

Larval Cestode Parasites of Edible Mollusks of the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico

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Ten distinct species of larval cestodes were obtained from 43 edible, or potentially edible, benthic mollusks of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Three of the infected mollusks, American oysters, Crassostrea virginica (Gmelin), Atlantic bay scallops, Argopecten irradians concentricus (Say), and sunray venus clams, Macrocallista nimbosa (Lightfoot), are important commercial species in the eastern Gulf and the remainder are occasionally eaten by epicurean shellfishermen or were consumed by prehistoric, aboriginal Indians of the Gulf coast. The cestodes represent four orders, seven families and nine recogized genera and include the trypanorhynchs, Euteirarhynchus sp. (of Cake 1975) and Parachristianella sp. (of Cake 1975), the Iecanicephalideans, Polypocephalus sp. (of Cake 1975) and Tylocephalum sp. (of Burton 1963), the tetraphyllideans, Dioecotaenia cancellata (Linton 1890), Anthobothrium sp. (of Cake 1975), Rhinebothrium sp. (of Cake 1975), Acanthobothrium sp. (of Regan 1963), and Acanthobothrium sp. (of Harry 1969), and the diphyllidean, Echinobothrium sp. (of Cake 1975). Infected mollusks were widely distributed in coastal estuarine and marine habitats from the Mississippi Sound to the Florida Keys. Pelecypods appear to serve as primary intermediate hosts and molluscivorous gastropods appear to serve as secondary intermediate or paratenic (transport) hosts for these cestodes which in turn utilize demersal elasmobranch fish as final hosts. None of these cestodes are known to infect humans and the only potential harm is to the quality and quantity of the edible molluscan tissues.

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