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Influences of the Tapeworm Ligula Intestinalis (L.) On the Spatial Distributions of Juvenile Roach Rutilus Rutilus (L.) and Gudgeon Gobio Gobio (L.) in Lough Neagh, Northern Ireland

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

The aims of the present study were to examine the influences of parasitization by Ligula intestinalis on the spatial distributions of juvenile roach and gudgeon in Lough Neagh, a large eutrophic lake in Northern Ireland. Infestation by Ligula was found to have no effect on the autumnal offshore migration of smaller gudgeon (median length 60 mm, mainly 1+ in age) and roach (median length 56 mm, mainly 1+ in age), although it was previously found to affect the migration of larger, older gudgeon (median length 90 mm, mainly 2+ in age) (the offshore migration of larger roach was not studied). Infestation also had no effect on the summer vertical distributions of smaller gudgeon and roach, but there was a significant effect on larger gudgeon and roach (median length 83 mm, mainly 2+ in age). Within the size ranges studied, larger fish of each species harboured larger parasites, but the precise relationship between host size and parasite size differed significantly. The effect, or otherwise, of Ligula on roach and gudgeon distributions is not related solely to the relative weights of the parasite and host.

Affiliations: 1: University of Ulster Freshwater Laboratory, Traad Point, Ballyronan, Co. Londonderry BT45 6LR, U.K.; 2: NERC Institute of Freshwater Ecology, The Windermere Laboratory, Far Sawrey, Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 OLP, U.K.


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