Marine Mammal Parasite of the Month- August 2021 Reply – Nationwide Marine Life Heart

This month’s parasite was the Corynosoma enhydri, a member of the thorny-headed worm neighborhood that solely has one definitive host, the ocean otter. The one option to decide if a sea otter is contaminated is thru a fecal prognosis or by means of a necropsy since this parasite doesn’t current any visible indicators of an infection within the host. Nevertheless, as with all parasites, a heavy load will trigger emaciation and lethargy. There are a lot of several types of thorny-headed worms, or acanthocephalans, they usually infect a wide variety of marine species together with pinnipeds, cetaceans, mollusks, fish, and otariids. All of them look comparatively comparable, with an elongated, cylindrical physique that types one bigger finish and one smaller finish. Out of the bigger finish sticks a small thorny appendage, usually known as a hook. That is the half the place the parasite will get its widespread identify as a result of it does seem like a thorn popping out of its head. This a part of the parasite will burrow into the small intestines of their host and keep connected there. For sea otters, these parasite burrow into the liner of the small gut, and in extreme instances, can undergo the liner of the small gut and into different physique cavities and components.


Berman, J. J. (2012). Acanthocephala. Acanthocephala – an summary | ScienceDirect Matters.

Mayer, Okay. A., Dailey, M. D., & Miller, M. A. (2003). Helminth parasites of the southern sea otter Enhydra LUTRIS Nereis in CENTRAL California: ABUNDANCE, distribution and pathology. Illnesses of Aquatic Organisms, 53, 77–88.

Shanebeck, Okay. M., Lakemeyer, J., Siebert, U., & Lehnert, Okay. (2020). Novel infections of

Corynosoma enhydri and Profilicollis sp. (Acanthocephala: Polymorphidae) recognized in sea otters Enhydra lutris. Illnesses of aquatic organisms, 137(3), 239–246.


Posted by summer time intern Abby C.

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