A field study of the parasite Nosema herpobdellae Conet (Microspora) in Erpobdella octoculata (L). (Hirudinea)
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The prevalence of the microsporidian, Nosema herpobdellae, in the leech, Erpobdella octoculata, collected from a eutrophic English lake, was examined at monthly intervals over two years. The leech has an annual life cycle and, for each cohort, infection appeared in recently recruited animals in early autumn and prevalence levels rose to a peak in late autumn or winter before declining till the cohort died out the following autumn. Prevalence levels never exceeded 9%. The effect of the parasite on young leeches was difficult to assess, but there was some evidence of parasite-induced host mortality in older animals.
KeywordsNosema herpobdellae Microspora Erpobdella octoculata Hirudinea leeches parasitism lakes
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