SREL Reprint #0630




The Distribution and Abundance of Enteric Helminths in Chrysemys s. scripta from Various Habitats on the Savannah River Plant in South Carolina

Gerald W. Esch, J. Whitfield Gibbons, and Joseph E. Bourque



Nine species of enteric parasites were recovered from 357 Chrysemys scripta in a variety of habitats located on the Savannah River Plant near Aiken, South Carolina.  Camallanus trispinosus was the most common nematode, present in more than 90% of the hosts; Spinoroura chelydrae was observed less frequently (73%).  Mean infrapopulation densities of C. trispinosus were substantially higher than S. chelydrae (130.7 vs. 22.3).  Two trematodes, Telorchis medius and Macravestibulum sp. were present in low densities and were relatively low in prevalence (27.1% and 10.3% respectively).  Four species of Neoechinorhynchus were recovered (N. pseudemydis, N. emyditoides, N. chrysemydis, and N. chelonus), with N. pseudemydis being most common (50%) and having the highest mean density (22.0/host).  An unidentified species of acanthocephalan was also recovered from several turtles.  Significant, but low, positive correlations were observed between mean densities of the two nematodes and plastron length, small intestine length and host weight.  Mean infrapopulation densities of Neoechinorhynchus spp. were significantly correlated with plaston length, host weight, and small intestine length.  Camallanus trispinosus was heavily recruited in September and October and lost in mid to late summer; S. chelydrae was lost during hibernation and rapidly recruited in early spring.  Neoechinorhynchus spp. were recruited heavily at least twice each year, with greatest loss occurring just prior to, or simultaneously with, recruitment.  There was substantial variability in abundance and distribution of all enteric helminths among the ecologically diverse habitats on the SRP.  Some of the variability was attributed to substantive perturbation, i.e., thermal effluent, as well as immigration and emigration of infected and uninfected turtles.


SREL Reprint #0630

Esch, G.W., J.W. Gibbons, and J.E. Bourque. 1979. The distribution and abundance of enteric helminths in Chrysemys s. scripta from various habitats on the Savannah River Plant in South Carolina. Journal of Parasitology 65:624-632.

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