Marine Mammal Parasite of the Month- March 2021

parasite of the month

This parasite is most commonly reported in cetaceans, but some cases has been seen in pinnipeds, fish and rarely humans. It is distinguishable thanks to their longitudinal rows of overlapping hooks on their proboscis, the hollow retractable extremity used to latch onto its host. This parasite can be as small as 1millimeter long or grow to over 1 meter long! It inhabits the small intestine of its host and cannot complete its life cycle without a vector or intermediate host. Experts can name 14 nominal species of this parasite, each with a different number of rows and hooks. If the host is infected with large amounts of this parasite, intestinal inflammation may occur which can lead intestinal wall rupture, inflammation of the abdominal wall membrane and then death of the host. Do you know what this parasite is and how do you think it can be treated?


Posted By Amber R.

Amber is a spring intern studying in the Animal Health Care Program at Bristol Community College.