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Slides and abstract presented at Rocky Mountain Conference of Parasitology, Cedar Point Biological Station, Keith County, Nebraska, September 2023

Presented by Anisha Kadubandi and Gage Kircher, students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Alternate title: Prevalence of Gregarine Protozoa Infection in Zygoptera Sourced from Varying Collection Sites in Keith County, Nebraska


Copyright 2023, the authors. Used by permission


Prevalence of Gregarine Protozoa Infection in Zygoptera Sourced from Varying Collection Sites in Keith County, Nebraska

B.G Kircher II, A. Kadubandi, and S.L. Gardner S. H.W. Manter Laboratory of Parasitology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Cedar Point Biological Station, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Damselflies are ubiquitous flying insects of the order Odonata with thousands of species found around the world. The parasites associated with damselfly species are equally as ubiquitous, with the most common being gregarine protozoa and water mites, though other parasitic organisms such as trematodes are also found in these animals. Gaining an understanding of the relationships among hosts and their parasites within an environment can grant greater insight into the overall health and levels of biodiversity present in local environments. In this study, several species of damselfly, largely consisting of the species Hetaerina americana, Enallagma civile, and Nehallenia irene were surveyed from four collecting sites to answer several questions surrounding the relationship among parasites and damselfly species. Samples were accumulated from several sites and their gregarine parasites measured to explore the diversity in the area. Prevalence counts were taken for other parasites affecting damselflies, specifically water mites and trematodes. Additionally, of the four collection localities, two were chosen that featured flowing water, and two sporting stagnant water, to determine if moving water environments differ significantly from non-flowing environments in parasite prevalence or intensity of infection. Ultimately the results of this study fail to reject the hypothesis that larger damselfly hosts tend to have larger gregarine parasites, and that more severe gregarine infections (higher parasite burden) tend to feature gregarines that have larger body sizes. Additionally, the results of this study raise interesting questions requiring further investigation, such as the complete lack of parasites in H. americana from a site that showed high levels of parasitism in other damselfly species.