Canadian freshwater fish and their metazoan parasites (multiple sources)

General information

Data on host use by parasites were obtained from 7 Canadian freshwater systems, either large lakes or rivers, in which most fish species have been surveyed for parasites. Only fish species for which at least 5 individuals have been examined per locality are included, because estimates of parasite infection level were inaccurate for smaller samples. All species of internal and external metazoan parasites were considered, which include the following groups: nematodes, acanthocephalans, cestodes, trematodes, monogeneans, leeches, copepods and branchiurans. When a species of internal worm occurred among sampled fish as both larval and adult forms, the two forms were treated as functionally distinct species; this convention is justified because larval and adult worms often have different modes of transmission, infect different fish species, and different organs within fish.

Data type

Two types of data given for most datasets: prevalence, which describes the proportion of host individuals harboring a particular parasite species; and intensity of infection, which describes the average parasite load (number of individual parasites) per host individual. Prevalence and intensity data are presented as two separate interaction matrices. In addition, all datasets include information on the host sample size (number of host individuals examined for parasites) and one (Cold Lake) also included an independent estimate of host abundance.


Arai, H. P., and D. R. Mudry. 1983. Protozoan and metazoan parasites of fishes from the headwaters of the Parsnip and McGregor Rivers, British Columbia: a study of possible parasite transfaunations. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 40:1676-1684.

Arthur, J. R., L. Margolis, and H. P. Arai. 1976. Parasites of fishes of Aishihik and Stevens Lakes, Yukon Territory, and potential consequences of their interlake transfer through a proposed water diversion for hydroelectrical purposes. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 33:2489-2499.

Bangham, R. V. 1955. Studies on fish parasites of Lake Huron and Manitoulin Island. American Midland Naturalist 53:184-194.

Chinniah, V. C., and W. Threlfall. 1978. Metazoan parasites of fish from the Smallwood Reservoir, Labrador, Canada. Journal of Fish Biology 13:203-213.

Dechtiar, A. O. 1972. Parasites of fish from Lake of the Woods, Ontario. Journal of Fisheries Research Board of Canada 29:275-283.

Leong, T. S., and J. C. Holmes. 1981. Communities of metazoan parasites in open water fishes of Cold Lake, Alberta. Journal of Fish Biology 18:693-713.

Data files

Text format (no species names): Aishihik Lake: prevalence, intensity, host sample size; Cold Lake: prevalence, intensity, host sample size, host abundance; Lake of the Woods: prevalence, host sample size; McGregor River: prevalence, intensity, host sample size; Parsnip River: prevalence, intensity, host sample size; Lake Huron: prevalence, host sample size; Smallwodd Reservoir: prevalence, intensity, host sample size; or download WinZip file with all datasets.

Excel format (includes species lists): all data for Aishihik Lake, Cold Lake, Lake of the Woods, McGregor River, Parsnip River, Lake Huron and Smallwodd Reservoir, or download WinZip file with all datasets.

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