Marine Mammal Parasite of the Month- August 2019


The second worm of this 2019 parasite blog series is another one of my favorites, one that I have researched a fair amount. This is a parasite that has an undetermined life cycle and primarily affects yearling seals.

Defining characteristics of this parasite are differences in the spicules as well as anatomical differences between males and females. In this parasite the right spicule is spoon shaped whereas the left spicule is long and thin. The body of this parasite is long and tapers towards the posterior end, while the anterior end is round with no cuticular structure. Female worms have an excretory pore that males do not.

What parasite is this? What is the genus and species?
What family is this parasite from?
What is the hypothesized vector for this parasite?

Posted by Maddy G

Maddy is a summer 2019 intern at the National Marine Life Center. She is a recent graduate of Smith College.