Population biology of eyeflukes in fish from a large fluvial ecosystem: the importance of gulls and habitat characteristics
Canadian Journal of Zoology
Spottail shiners (Notropis hudsonius) were monitored for eyeflukes monthly at four sites in the St. Lawrence River, Quebec, from spring through autumn in 1997 and 1998. In general, mean abundance of Diplostomum spp. in the lens of spottail shiners was highest at sites near large ring-billed gull (Larus delawarensis) colonies and was higher in 1998 than in 1997. Population studies demonstrated a major period of recruitment in the late summer -early autumn. Mean abundance increased between
... ased between November and May, when sampling was logistically not possible, reflecting latefall or early-spring recruitment. Golden shiners (Notemigonus crysoleucas) and small yellow perch (Perca flavescens) were monitored at a single site (Île aux Ours) in 1997 and 1998. Mean abundance of Diplostomum spp. in the lens of golden shiners at Île aux Ours was higher in 1998 than in 1997. Recruitment occurred in the early summer and between November and May, suggesting late-fall or early-spring transmission. Mean abundance decreased between August and October in both years. Yellow perch at Île aux Ours were infected with four different parasite species in their eyes. Mean abundance of Diplostomum spp. in the vitreous humour or retina increased during the summer and fall and then decreased between the fall and following spring. Diplostomum spp. in the lens increased in abundance in the early summer, and then decreased during the fall. Both Tylodelphys scheuringi and Neascus spp. in the vitreous humour were more abundant in 0+ than in 1+ perch. Mean abundance of T. scheuringi increased over the summer in 1997 and then dropped to zero in the same cohort over winter, suggesting that the parasite lives for only 1 year. Neascus spp. only were found in 1998. Distributional data, together with seasonal information, suggest that habitat characteristics contribute significantly to the abundance of Diplostomum spp. along the St. Lawrence River. Proximity to gull colonies enhances abundance, but higher rates of predation at wetland sites depress abundance and restrict the accumulation of parasites.