Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: First Record of Alcataenia Larina Larina (Cestoda: Dilepididae) in Atlantic Puffins (Aves, Alcidae, Fratercula Arctica) from Newfoundland, Canada

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

Submitted to: Comparative Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 15, 2007
Publication Date: February 15, 2007
Citation: Muzaffar, S.B., Hoberg, E.P., Jones, I.A. 2007. First record of Alcataenia larina larina (Cestoda: Dilepididae) in Atlantic Puffins (Aves, Alcidae, Fratercula arctica) from Newfoundland, Canada. Comparative Parasitology. 74:380-382.

Interpretive Summary: Documentation of parasite biodiversity offers insights into ecological processes in contemporary or near time. Parasites with complex patterns of life history involving multiple hosts may reveal information about ecological structure. We explore the distribution of a tapeworm parasite in seabirds which serves as an indicator of trophic structure and the degree of overlap in foraging among birds exploiting common prey resources. The tapeworm Alcataenia larina (Cestoda: Cyclophyllidea: Dilepididae) is a parasite of gulls (Laridae) with a Holarctic distribution. Two subspecies A. l. pacifica and A. l. larina are recognized, with the former occurring in the North Pacific basin and the latter in the North Atlantic. Alcids serve as incidental hosts for both species although infections are generally rare. We report A. l. larina from an Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) collected from the Bay of Exploits in Newfoundland. Increasing numbers of gulls around seabird colonies in Newfoundland may result in more frequent contact between gulls and alcids such as puffins (during foraging) promoting cross infections of A. l. larina. Diet among multi-species assemblages of marine birds is opportunistic and often driven by availability of prey and oceanographic variation linked to global climate change. Such variation in foraging ecology may be reflected in patterns of abundance for tapeworms and other parasites. Survey and inventory for parasites contributes to development of comparative baselines that can be applied to understanding the structure of marine food webs and changing conditions in the marine environment.

Technical Abstract: The tapeworm Alcataenia larina (Cestoda: Cyclophyllidea: Dilepididae) is a parasite of gulls (Laridae) with a Holarctic distribution. Two subspecies A. l. pacifica and A. l. larina are recognized, with the former occurring in the North Pacific basin and the latter in the North Atlantic. Alcids serve as incidental hosts for both species although infections are generally rare. We report A. l. larina from an Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) collected from the Bay of Exploits in Newfoundland. The three strobilate and early gravid specimens were clearly distinguishable from the closely related A. cerorhincae and A. fraterculae by the dimensions of the rostellar hooks and smaller cirrus sac. Increasing numbers of gulls around seabird colonies in Newfoundland may result in more frequent contact between gulls and alcids such as puffins (during foraging) promoting cross infections of A. l. larina.

Last Modified: 7/23/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page