intertidal mud flats
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The phenology of microphallid trematodes within their intermediate hostpopulations has been studied on an intertidal mud flat. The parasites usethe mud snail Hydrobia ulvae and the infaunal amphipod Corophium volutatoras first and secondary intermediate host, respectively. Migratory shorebirdsact as final hosts. Our results show a general trend of decline in thedensity of infected intermediate hosts during both spring and autumn, whichcould mainly be ascribed to shorebird predation. During summer the densityof both infected snails and infected amphipods increased considerably, witha culmination in June within the snail population (1000 infectedm-2 and in August within the amphipod population (40 000infected m-2. This time lag in parasite occurrence could berelated to (1) the development time of larval trematodes within the snails,(2) higher ambient temperatures in late summer increasing parasitetransmission between snails and amphipods during this period, and (3) ageneral increase in the Corophium population during late summer. Fromsamples collected between 1990 and 1995 it is shown that microphallidtrematodes occasionally may give rise to mass mortality in the amphipodpopulation. The prerequisites for such an event are a high parasiteprevalence within the first intermediate host population and unusually highambient temperatures, facilitating parasite transmission to the secondaryintermediate host, C. volutator.
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