Comprehensive and comparative analysis of the helminth fauna of the dominant colonial seabird species on the Murman coast.
This work reports the results of the long-term study of the helminth fauna of the dominant colonial seabird species (common guillemots, Brünnich's guillemots, kittiwakes, great black-backed gulls, and herring gulls) in the western, central, and eastern parts of the Murman coast. The presence of 52 parasitic worm species (18 trematode species, 21 cestode species, 11 nematode species, and 2 acanthocephalan species) was demonstrated. In the western, central, and eastern regions, the respective numbers of 32, 43, and 34 helminth species were registered. Twenty species of seabird parasites were found to be ubiquitous along the Murman coastal zone. Local foci of the trematode Maritrema arenaria and cestode Laricanthus lateralis infestation along the western part of the Murmansk coast were revealed. The highest helminth species diversity (38 species) was demonstrated for the herring gull; the lowest (7 species), for the common guillemot. Four parasite species were common for the helminth fauna of all bird species. A significant number of helminth infections were mixed ones (complexes of two or three bird species with the common helminth species in different combinations). The highest similarity of the helminth fauna was revealed in the pairs of the common guillemot and the Brünnich's guillemot and of the great black-backed gull and the herring gull. A few parasitic worm species detected only in a single bird species were registered. The particularities and the possible causes of the geographical distribution and specificity of helminthes were analyzed, and a comprehensive assessment of the parasitological situation in the Murman coastal zone was performed.