The parasite fauna of the fish of the Shropshire Union Canal, Cheshire



A survey was made of the parasites of 603 roach Rutilus rutilus (L.), 15 bream Abramis brama (L.), 201 perch Perca fluviatilis L., 30 pike Esox lucius L. and four eels Anguilla anguilla (L.) caught in the Shropshire Union Canal at Backford, Cheshire from December 1964 to August 1966. Twenty-seven species of parasites were found, 17 in roach, seven in bream, ten in perch, ten in pike and two in the eel. Two species of Protozoa, seven species of Monogenea, five species of Digenea, six species of Cestoda, two species of Nematoda, one species of Acanthocephala, two species of Hirudinea, one species of Crustacea and mollusc glochidia were recorded. The following parasites are believed to be new records for the British Isles: Henneguya oviperda (Cohn, 1895), Dactylogyrus suecicus Nybelin, 1936, D. wunderi Bykhovskii, 1931, Asymphylodora kubanicum (Isaichikov, 1923), and Philometra rischta Skryabin, 1917.

One table shows the species of parasites found, together with data on the site of occurrence in the host, and the percentage and intensity of infection of the fish. A second table compares the occurrence of the parasites in four other localities in the British Isles, Loch Lomond Scotland, Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake), Merionethshire, Rostherne Mere, Cheshire and the River Lugg, Herefordshire. A further column gives the normal hosts in the U.S.S.R.

A limited comparison is made of the numerical occurrence of six species of parasites in the canal, Llyn Tegid and Druzno Lake, Poland. It is concluded that unless relatively large samples of fish of all length groups are collected on a regular basis throughout the year such comparisons will have little meaning.

The concept of the characterization of parasite faunas is briefly noted. It is suggested that the high degree of host specificity shown by many of the species of parasites is evidence in support of the concept.