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Archdeacon, T.P., A. Iles, J. Kline, and S. A. Bonar. 2010. Asian Fish Tapeworm Bothriocephalus acheilognathi in the Desert Southwestern United States. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 22:274–279.


The Asian fish tapeworm Bothriocephalus
acheilognathi (Cestoda: Bothriocephalidea) is an introduced
fish parasite in the southwestern United States and is often
considered a serious threat to native desert fishes. Determining
the geographic distribution of nonnative fish parasites is
important for recovery efforts of native fishes. We examined
1,140 individuals belonging to nine fish species from
southwestern U.S. streams and springs between January
2005 and April 2007. The Asian fish tapeworm was present
in the Gila River, Salt River, Verde River, San Pedro River,
Aravaipa Creek, and Fossil Creek, Arizona, and in Lake
Tuendae at Zzyzx Springs and Afton Canyon of the Mojave
River, California. Overall prevalence of the Asian fish
tapeworm in Arizona fish populations was 19% (range ¼ 0–
100%) and varied by location, time, and fish species. In
California, the prevalence, abundance, and intensity of the
Asian fish tapeworm in Mohave tui chub Gila bicolor
mohavensis were higher during warmer months than during
cooler months. Three new definitive host species—Yaqui
chub G. purpurea, headwater chub G. nigra, and longfin dace
Agosia chrysogaster—were identified. Widespread occurrence
of the Asian fish tapeworm in southwestern U.S. waters
suggests that the lack of detection in other systems where
nonnative fishes occur is due to a lack of effort as opposed to
true absence of the parasite. To limit further spread of diseases
to small, isolated systems, we recommend treatment for both
endo- and exoparasites when management actions include
translocation of fishes


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December 2010

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  1. U.S. Geological Survey