Necropsy and extensive parasitological examination of dead northern elephant seal (NES) pups was done on San Miguel Island, California, in February, 2015. The main interest in the current study was to determine if hookworms were present in NESs on San Miguel Island where two hookworm species of the genus Uncinaria are known to be present - Uncinaria lyonsi in California sea lions and Uncinaria lucasi in northern fur seals. Hookworms were not detected in any of the NESs examined: stomachs or intestines of 16 pups, blubber of 13 pups and blubber of one bull. The results obtained in the present study of NESs on San Miguel Island plus similar finding on Año Nuevo State Reserve and The Marine Mammal Center provide strong indication that NES are not appropriate hosts for Uncinaria spp. Hookworm free-living third stage larvae, developed from eggs of California sea lions and northern fur seals, were recovered from sand. It seems that at this time, further search for hookworms in NESs would be nonproductive.
To increase the currently limited knowledge addressing acanthocephalans parasitizing California sea lions (Zalophus californianus), 33 animals including pups, juvenile and adult males and females from the Marine Mammal Center (TMMC), Sausalito, California, USA were examined. Totally, 2,268 specimens of acanthocephalans representing five species from the genera Andracantha (A. phalacrocoracis and Andracantha sp.), Corynosoma (C. strumosum and C. obtuscens) and Profilicollis (P. altmani) were found. Profilicollis altmani and A. phalacrocoracis, predominantly parasitize fish-eating birds; they were registered in Z. californianus for the first time. Prevalence and intensity of California sea lion infection and transmission of acanthocephalans in these hosts of different age groups were analyzed and discussed. We provide brief morphological descriptions of the five species of acanthocephalan found in California sea lions.
Prevalence of Hookworms, Uncinaria lucasi (Ancylostomatidae), in Northern Fur Seals (Callorhinus ursinus) on St. Paul Island, Alaska. Lyons, E. T., Kuzmina, T. A., Carie, J. L., Tolliver, S. C., Spraker, T. R. — Review of main studies on biology and ecology of the hookworm Uncinaria lucasi Stiles, 1901 performed on St. Paul Island, Alaska, is presented. Current data on prevalence of adult hookworms parasitizing northern fur seals (NFS), Callorhinus ursinus Linnaeus, 1758, were obtained based on the examination of the intestines of dead NFS pups and subadult 3-4 year-old males in July and August of 2011-2013. In addition, blubber samples collected from subadult NFS males were examined for parasitic third stage hookworm larvae (L3). All current data were compared with previously published studies performed in 1950s-1960s. Current prevalence of U. lucasi in dead pups collected from Reef Rookery was 4.9 % in 2011, 0 % in 2012 and 10.5 % in 2013. This rookery has a rocky substrate. On sandy rookeries prevalence was up to 75 % on Morjovi Rookery and 50 % on Vostochni Rookery. Parasitic L3 were recovered in 2.5 % of subadult males examined in 2013. Decreasing prevalence of hookworm infection of dead pups and subadult males during the last several years follows the tremendous decline in the number of fur seals in the herd on St. Paul Island during last several decades.