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The occurrence of Eubothrium crassum (Cestoda: Pseudophyllidea) in salmon Salmo salar and trout S. trutta of the River Exe



The occurrence, size and maturity changes of Eubothrium crassum (Bloch) have been studied in smolts and adult Salmo salar L. and S. trutta L. of the River Exe and other Devon rivers. Adult parasites are found only in salmon and sea trout migrating up river to spawn, and range in size from small and immature to large and mature, though rarely gravid, worms. It is concluded that they are acquired and only become fully mature in the sea and gravid worms are lost on or before arrival in the rivers. During the upstream migration of salmon there is a selective loss of larger and more mature parasites and the survivors do not increase in length or mature, due to the intestine becoming a progressively more unfavourable habitat as the period of fasting continues. As few salmon return to the sea, most parasites in fresh-water die before breeding. In sea trout, which feed in fresh-water, parasites continue to grow and probably mature on return to the sea. It is suggested that parasites found in adult Atlantic and Pacific salmon in rivers are rarely, if ever, the same worms that are carried to sea by smolts but are of marine origin and are residues of a marine life cycle, and that two biological races of E. crassum exist, a marine and a fresh-water one.

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