Quantitative effects of three species of parasites on a population of Three-spined sticklebacks, Gasterosteus aculeatus

Authors


  • *Serengeti Research Institute, P.O. Box, Arusha Tanzania

Abstract

The effects of Schistocephalus solidus, Diplostomum gasterostei and Echinorhynchus clavula on a population of Three-spined sticklebacks from a pond in Somerset were studied. Schistocephalus was present at the highest level of infection and had the greatest effects on the sticklebacks. It caused the fish to weigh less than uninfected ones of the same length, as shown by the lower condition factor, and to grow more slowly; and it delayed the sexual maturation of fish of both sexes and prevented many from breeding. Diplostomum also had a significant effect on the condition of the sticklebacks and all three parasite species probably caused death or predation of heavily infected fish. The quantitative effects of the parasites on the condition, length and weight of the fish were calculated; seasonal changes in the condition factor could then be seen, and the growth rates for both length and weight calculated.

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