Lousy big guys: Lepidophthirus macrorhini infesting seals from Antarctica
The present work represents a contribution to the ecology of a little known host parasite association, i.e. sucking lice and Antarctic seals. The information available regarding the health status of Antarctic seals is limited and little is known about the ecology and effect of parasites on these hosts. Particularly, data regarding Antarctic louse infestation are scarce. Therefore, the main goal of this study is to report the results of a survey of the louse infestation of Lepidophthirus macrorhini (Anoplura, Echinophthiriidae) on 26 elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) and on a Weddell seal (Leptonychotes weddelli) from eastern Antarctic Peninsula.
KeywordsLice Echinophthiriidae 25 de Mayo/King George Island Elephant seal Weddell seal
We appreciate the important comments and suggestions made by Dr. Dieter Piepenburg and three anonymous referees that largely improved the manuscript. The study was financially and logistically supported by the Dirección Nacional del Antártico, Instituto Antártico Argentino. The permit for this work was granted by the Dirección Nacional del Antártico (Environmental Office). The authors are grateful to Dr. C.E. Rumbold for comments on earlier versions of the manuscript and statistical support and to Marina Juáres for her assistance with the maps. This research was partially funded by the Agencia de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica (PICT 2015-0082) and Lerner-Grey Fund for Marine Research. The authors express their support and defend the Argentinean scientific program.
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