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Observations on the helminths of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) and common guillemots (Uria aalge) from the Belgian and German coasts
  1. L. Brosens, MS. Biol1,
  2. T. Jauniaux, DVM1,
  3. U. Siebert, DVM, PhD2,
  4. H. Benke, PhD3 and
  5. F. Coignoul, DVM, PhD1
  1. 1 Department of Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liege, Campus du Sart-Tilman, Bat. B43, B-4000, Liege, Belgium
  2. 2 Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Giessen, Germany
  3. 3 Research and Technology Centre of the West Coast, University of Kiel, Germany


Between February 1990 and July 1991, 18 harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) and 248 common guillemots (Uria aalge), found dead along the Belgian and German coasts, were examined for their burden of helminths. A total of three species were found in the guillemots (one cestode, one nematode and one pentastomid), and six species in the porpoises (one trematode, one cestode and four nematodes). Among the guillemots the burden of helminths was not statistically different between juvenile and adult birds. The deaths of the birds were apparently not related to the parasite infections. In contrast, the adult porpoises were more heavily parasitised than the juveniles, except for one young porpoise stranded on the Belgian coast. In the porpoises, four species of parasites had a pathological effect and Torynurus convolutus was responsible for the death of one animal from the Belgian coast and three from the German coast.

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