DAO 122:205-211 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03071

Skin parasitism by Paratrichosoma recurvum in wild American crocodiles and its relation to environmental and biological factors

Pierre Charruau1,*, Jonathan S. Pérez-Flores2, Didier Labarre3

1Centro del Cambio Global y la Sustentabilidad en el Sureste AC, CP 86080, Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico
2El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Unidad Chetumal, CP 77014 Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico
3Faculté des Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec J1K 2R1, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Paratrichosma spp. are capillarid worms that parasitize the abdominal skin of crocodiles. They are likely not a threat to crocodiles’ health, but they affect the skins’ commercial value. No successful treatment exists against this parasite, and present knowledge of its life cycle is limited. Herein we report new information on Paratrichosoma recurvum occurrence in wild American crocodiles Crocodylus acutus from Mexican Caribbean islands and its relation to environmental (water salinity, temperature, climatic events) and biological (body condition) factors. The percentage of parasitized crocodiles (30.3%) is among the highest recorded in wild crocodilian populations. Small (<40.8 cm total length [TL]) and large (>270 cm TL) crocodiles are less parasitized, probably due to the characteristics of their skin or of the parasite life cycle. Two individuals appeared to have eliminated worms naturally between their capture and recapture. The thorax–abdomen is the most parasitized area of the body of crocodiles. The risk of infection is not associated with the sex of the crocodile, but there was a difference in the proportion of parasitized crocodiles between sites, which could be related to different environmental conditions. The body condition of a crocodile does not seem to be affected by the parasite. Climatic events and water temperature show no effect on the parasitism of crocodiles, but salinity could have an effect. The infection of crocodiles by P. recurvum could depend more on an individual’s behavior than on environmental conditions.

KEY WORDS: Trichosomoididae · Crocodylus acutus · Parasite · Nematoda · Skin disease · Capillarid worm · Tropical cyclones · Mexican Caribbean

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Cite this article as: Charruau P, Pérez-Flores JS, Labarre D (2017) Skin parasitism by Paratrichosoma recurvum in wild American crocodiles and its relation to environmental and biological factors. Dis Aquat Org 122:205-211. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03071

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