Parasitology, Harold W. Manter Laboratory of


Date of this Version



Journal of Parasitology (1998) 84(5): 939-946.


U.S. government work.


The parasite fauna in cetaceans from Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the larger Caribbean region is poorly known. We provide the first records for parasite biodiversity among a diverse assemblage of cetaceans from the Caribbean Sea. Internal and external parasites and commensals were collected from stranded whales and dolphins salvaged in Puerto Rico, the United States and British Virgin Islands, Jamaica, and Venezuela between 1989 and 1997. A total of 47 individuals of 16 species of whales and dolphins (15 odontocetes and one mysticete) were examined. Overall, parasites and commensals were found in 34 (72.3%) animals, representing 13 species of odontocetes and one mysticete. Eighteen species of endoparasitic helminths were found, including eight species of nematodes, two digeneans, six cestodes, and two acanthocephalans. Three species of whale-lice and two species of barnacles were also collected.