Spirorchiidiasis in stranded loggerhead Caretta Caretta and green turtles Chelonia mydas in Florida (USA): Host pathology and significance

Brian A. Stacy, Allen M. Foley, Ellis Greiner, Lawrence H. Herbst, Alan Bolten, Paul Klein, Charles A. Manire, Elliott R. Jacobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Spirorchiid trematodes are implicated as an important cause of stranding and mortality in sea turtles worldwide. However, the impact of these parasites on sea turtle health is poorly understood due to biases in study populations and limited or missing data for some host species and regions, including the southeastern United States. We examined necropsy findings and parasitological data from 89 loggerhead Caretta caretta and 59 green turtles Chelonia mydas that were found dead or moribund (i.e. stranded) in Florida (USA) and evaluated the role of spirorchiidiasis in the cause of death. High prevalence of infection in the stranding population was observed, and most infections were regarded as incidental to the cause of death. Spirorchiidiasis was causal or contributory to death in some cases; however, notable host injury and/or large numbers of parasites were observed in some animals, including nutritionally robust turtles, with no apparent relationship to cause of death. New spirorchiid species records for the region were documented and identified genera included Neospirorchis, Hapalotrema, Carettacola, and Learedius. Parasites inhabited and were associated with injury and inflammation in a variety of anatomic locations, including large arteries, the central nervous system, endocrine organs, and the gastrointestinal tract. These findings provide essential information on the diversity of spirorchiids found in Florida sea turtles, as well as prevalence of infection and the spectrum of associated pathological lesions. Several areas of needed study are identified with regard to potential health implications in the turtle host, and findings caution against over-interpretation in individual cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-259
Number of pages23
JournalDiseases of Aquatic Organisms
Volume89
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 9 2010

Fingerprint

Chelonia mydas
Caretta caretta
pathology
turtle
sea turtles
death
cause of death
parasites
turtles
stranding
parasite
infection
Southeastern United States
Trematoda
lesions (animal)
arteries
gastrointestinal system
central nervous system
necropsy
inflammation

Keywords

  • Green sea turtle
  • Hapalotrema
  • Learedius
  • Loggerhead sea turtle
  • Neospirorchis
  • Pathology
  • Spirorchiidiasis
  • Trematode

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Spirorchiidiasis in stranded loggerhead Caretta Caretta and green turtles Chelonia mydas in Florida (USA) : Host pathology and significance. / Stacy, Brian A.; Foley, Allen M.; Greiner, Ellis; Herbst, Lawrence H.; Bolten, Alan; Klein, Paul; Manire, Charles A.; Jacobson, Elliott R.

In: Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, Vol. 89, No. 3, 09.04.2010, p. 237-259.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Stacy, Brian A. ; Foley, Allen M. ; Greiner, Ellis ; Herbst, Lawrence H. ; Bolten, Alan ; Klein, Paul ; Manire, Charles A. ; Jacobson, Elliott R. / Spirorchiidiasis in stranded loggerhead Caretta Caretta and green turtles Chelonia mydas in Florida (USA) : Host pathology and significance. In: Diseases of Aquatic Organisms. 2010 ; Vol. 89, No. 3. pp. 237-259.
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