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Fluke cysts in bluegills

James Mahaffy mahaffy at DORDT.EDU
Mon May 22 15:31:36 EST 1995


     I would appreciate some feedback from some of you that may
be a bit more knowledgeable in fish parasites than I am.   As
part of a Zoology projects two students decided to investigate
what might be the parasites that were infecting fish in a small
pond here in North West Iowa (just north of Rock Valley).   The
small Lake (30 ft deep) was known to have fish infested with a
parasite.  Part of the lake is kept open year round with a
sprinkler system so ducks can stay there year round. 

     The students collected some bluegills and small mouth  bass. 
The bass did not appear to have any  parasites, but the blue
gills were heavily infested.  There were some cysts in the muscle
and in the heart and the liver.  I suspect they might be all the
same, but the students spent most of their time looking at cysts
isolated from the heart tissue and blood.  The cyst wall was
double layered.  They had a prominent ventral sucker and they
think they found an oral sucker.  It had a single intestinal
track with some spines on the tegument.  

     I tend to think they did find the metacercarial stage of a
digenetic fluke.  They went a bit further and identified it as
Diplostomum baeri eucaliae, a fluke that has birds as its
ultimate host.  They might be right, but I don't know enough
about flukes to narrow it down further.  In any case, they did a
good job investigating it,  but now I am curious if anyone knows
what are the common flukes that would be infesting fish in a pond
like this?  Don't go to a lot of work, but if someone knows some
interesting things bout flukes like this I would appreciate
knowing a bit more and will pass the information back to the
students. If anyone is really interested, they video taped the
parasite and made a drawing, which I will be happy to share.  But
this is really just curiosity on my part.  It sounds like a nice
parasite load on some local fish and I was interested if anyone
knew anything more on these chaps. It is neat when you can use
local parasites for examples. 
James F. Mahaffy                   e-mail: mahaffy at dordt.edu
Biology Department                 phone: 712 722-6279
Dordt College                      FAX 712 722-1198
Sioux Center, Iowa 51250

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