Polar Biology

, Volume 36, Issue 12, pp 1839–1843 | Cite as

New data on gastrointestinal helminths in shags (Phalacrocorax verrucosus) at Kerguelen Archipelago

  • Frédéric FonteneauEmail author
  • Timothée R. Cook
Short Note


To date, the knowledge of the helminth communities of Antarctic birds is scarce or fragmented. Knowledge about diseases and parasites is crucial for understanding and managing ecosystems, particularly in isolated areas where host species are more sensitive to new diseases or parasite infections. It has been showed that variations in rate of parasitism may occur between populations of host species. Two major non-exclusive hypotheses have been proposed to explain such variability: exposure to parasitism and, perhaps more important, life history strategies of hosts. We studied the helminth community of the Kerguelen Shag Phalacrocorax verrucosus, an endemic seabird species of the Kerguelen Archipelago. We provide new data on the helminths infecting this species from partial or complete digestive tracts of two birds. Two nematodes (Contracaecum rudolphii s.l. and Ingliseria cirrohamata) were found free or attached to the wall of the proventriculus of birds, while the acanthocephalan Corynosoma sp. and the cestode species Tetrabothrius sp. occurred in the intestine of the shags. The genus Tetrabothrius is reported for the first time in Kerguelen Shags and in this area. The analysis of stomach contents from 41 live Kerguelen Shag individuals revealed infection by Contracaecum nematodes. The proportion of infected birds differed between colonies, possibly in relation to differential exposure to infected fish hosts.


Nematoda Cestoda Acanthocephala Southern Ocean Cormorant Seabird 



The authors are grateful to the French Polar Institute (IPEV) and the Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises for financial and logistical means in the field. Field work was approved by the institute’s ethics committee and was conducted under IPEV research program number 394 (Diving Seabirds, coordinator: Charles-André Bost). Thanks to John Mike Kinsella for his precious assistance in the identification of parasites and to two anonymous referees to their constructive comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UMR CNRS EcobioUniversité de Rennes 1Rennes CedexFrance
  2. 2.Percy FitzPatrick Institute, DST/NRF Centre of ExcellenceUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa
  3. 3.Centre d’Etudes Biologiques de ChizéCNRS, UPR 1934Villiers-en-BoisFrance

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