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Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Program

Biology

Date of Award

12-2002

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Michael B. Harvey

Committee Members

Darrell J. Moore, James R. Stewart

Abstract

This study was designed to provide the foundation for future work on the ecology and evolution of Necturus-parasite systems by providing vital parasite survey information for the aquatic salamander Necturus alabamensis. During this study 115 N. alabamensis were collected from north Florida. Hosts yielded the cestode Proteocephalus loennbergi, monogeneans from the genus Sphyranura, digeneans from the genus Gorgoderina, and what appears to be several nematode species. Nematodes, digeneans, and cestodes were abundant while monogeneans were rare. Monogenean and cestode parasites were categorized as specialists (parasites specific to one species or the species of a single genus), and digenean and nematode parasites were categorized as generalists (infecting numerous, possibly distantly related hosts). Statistical analysis did not indicate a parasite load difference between sites for digeneans and cestodes but did indicate a difference for nematodes. Helminth populations appear to be overdispersed (the majority of the parasites are found in only a few hosts). This study provides insight into some aspects of the ecological relationships of N. alabamensis and its helminths. However, parasite surveys of the other members of Necturus are necessary for the evaluation of evolutionary relationships within this system.

Document Type

Thesis - Campus Only

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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