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Keywords:

  • Dall's porpoise;
  • Phocoenoides dalli;
  • parasitism;
  • Phyllobothrium delphini;
  • biological tags;
  • geographical variation;
  • elasmobranchs;
  • blue shark;
  • prionace glauca

Abstract

Prevalence of the larval cestode, Phyllobothrium delphini, was estimated from 2,445 Dall's porpoise, Phocoenoides dalli, from the incidental take of the Japanese high seas salmon drift-net fishery in the northwestern North Pacific Ocean, Bering Sea, and a local hand harpoon fishery in the southern Sea of Okhotsk. Prevalence of P. delphini was 22.7% in the northwestern North Pacific Ocean and 1.4% in the Bering Sea. This parasite was not found in the southern Sea of Okhotsk. Geographical differences in the prevalence of P. delphini may be due, at least in part, to regional differences in abundance of elasmobranchs known to feed on marine mammals and suspected as hosts of the parasite. Estimated intensity of infection of individual porpoises by P. delphini was low (estimated mean intensity of 3.5 plerocercoids per animal). This is a low intensity of infection compared to other species of small cetaceans studied and may be due to both differences in regional abundance of elasmobranchs and the comparatively short life span of P. dalli.