Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Possible Recent Range Expansion of Alcataenia Longicervica (Eucestoda: Dilepididae) Parasitic in Murres (Uria SPP., Alcidae) into the North Atlantic

Authors
item Muzaffar, Sabir - NEWFOUNDLAND, CANADA
item Hoberg, Eric
item Jones, Ian - NEWFOUNDLAND, CANADA

Submitted to: Marine Ornithology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 12, 2006
Publication Date: April 1, 2006
Citation: Muzaffar, S.B., Hoberg, E.P., Jones, I.L. 2006. Possible recent range expansion of alcataenia longicervica (eucestoda: dilepididae) parasitic in murres (uria spp., alcidae) into the north atlantic. Marine Ornithology 2005: 33: 189-191.

Interpretive Summary: Current evidence from historical biogeographic studies of host-parasite systems in the marine realm of the Arctic and Sub-Arctic have postulated a central role for definitive hosts such as marine birds or pinnipeds as the primary drivers of parasite distribution. Intermediate hosts including a range of macrozooplankton have been considered relatively neutral with respect to range expansion and establishment of helminths with complex life cycles among seabirds. Recent studies of Alcataenia-tapeworms however, may indicate a recent event of range expansion, mediated by zooplanktonic crustaceans, for parasites from the North Pacific into the North Atlantic. We provide new geographic records of cestodes from the Northwest Atlantic and suggest that the species range may have expanded as a result of contemporary changes in the distribution and abundance of euphausiid crustaceans that serve as intermediate hosts. Such changes in geographic range may serve to indicate the impact of rapidly changing oceanographic conditions and the breakdown of ecological mechanisms or barriers on the distributions of parasites, pathogens and hosts that have been isolated by distance.There is an urgent need to elucidate the life cycles of parasites in the marine environment, since parasites represent probes into the historical biogeography of organisms and their hosts. Climate change is predicted to drive substantial shifts in the geographic distributions of complex host-parasite assemblages coinciding with perturbations in oceanographic structure. Parasites with known life cycles can serve as elegant indicators of such ecological change on local, regional and global scales. Additionally, parasites may serve as indicators of ecological changes involving multiple trophic levels. Understanding parasite dynamics should therefore proceed in tandem with the elucidation of other aspects of ecological associations in attempts to understanding long-term change in the oceanic environment. The continued need for survey and inventory in conjunction with ongoing studies of the distribution, population structure, foraging behavior and food habits is evident. Establishing museum-based archives of specimens and associated data as long-term baselines to assess, monitor and predict effects of global change driven by climate, natural or cyclical (episodic) events (e.g., the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, El Niño

Technical Abstract: The geographic distributions of endoparasites can elucidate important and otherwise hidden aspects of the biology of their hosts. Alcataenia (Eucestoda: Cyclophyllidea: Dilepididae) comprises a host specific genus of intestinal parasites restricted to the auks (Alcidae) and to a lesser extent, the gulls (Laridae). Ten species are represented in the genus of which eight occur exclusively in the auks. Alcataenia meinertzhageni and Alcataenia armillaris have been collected from Thick-billed Murres (Uria lomvia) and Common Murres (Uria aalge) from various localities in the North Pacific and North Atlantic. One species, Alcataenia longicervica, was described in murres from the North Pacific Basin and has been regarded as endemic to that region. We provide new geographic records of this cestode from the Northwest Atlantic and suggest that the species range may have expanded as a result of contemporary changes in the distribution and abundance of euphausiid crustaceans that serve as intermediate hosts.

Last Modified: 9/21/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page