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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 41:53-64 (2000)  -  doi:10.3354/dao041053

Spatial and temporal variation of trematode infection in coexisting populations of intertidal gastropods Littorina saxatilis and L. obtusata in the White Sea

A. I. Granovitch1,*, S. O. Sergievsky2, I. M. Sokolova2

1Dept of Invertebrate Zoology, St. Petersburg State University, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russia
2White Sea Biological Station, Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Universitetskaya nab., 1, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russia
*Present address: Dept of Invertebrate Zoology, Faculty of Biology and Soil Sciences, Universitetskaya nab., 7/9, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russia. E-mail:

ABSTRACT: Trematode infection was studied in sympatric populations of the periwinkles Littorina saxatilis and L. obtusata in 2 regions of Kandalaksha Bay of the White Sea to assess host-parasite interactions at the population level. Twenty-seven spatially separated populations were each surveyed in 1984-1994; 2 heavily infected populations were investigated annually over a 16 yr period. Ten trematode species were found in the periwinkle populations. The closest association in spatial distribution and temporal dynamics was observed between 3 ecologically and morphologically similar trematodes of the Œpygmaeus¹ group: Microphallus piriformes, M. pygmaeus and M. pseudopygmaeus. For these 3 species, the prevalences were closely associated in the 2 host species when spatially separated sites from the 2 studied regions were considered, while in the 2 populations studied over the 16 yr period, a correlation was only observed between the infection levels of L. saxatilis and L. obtusata by either M. piriformes and immature microphallids. Likewise, within each host species, significant correlations were revealed between the prevalence of the different microphallids of the Œpygmaeus¹ groups. However, they were fewer and weaker when the long-term dynamics of infection in the 2 heavily infected populations were considered. Most other trematodes did not show significant association in prevalence either within or between the 2 host species on spatial and temporal scales.

KEY WORDS: Spatial distribution · Long-term dynamics · Trematode infection · Littorina spp. · White Sea

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