Information about the parasite fauna of spectacled porpoises and cetaceans from New Zealand waters in general is scarce. This study takes advantage of material archived in collections of the Otago Museum in Dunedin and Massey University in Auckland, sampled from cetacean species found stranded along the New Zealand coastline between 2007 and 2014. Parasites from seven species of cetaceans (spectacled porpoise, Phocoena dioptrica (n = 2 individuals examined); pygmy sperm whale (n = 1); long-finned pilot whale, Globicephala melas (n = 1); Risso’s dolphin, Grampus griseus (n = 1); short-beaked common dolphin, Delphinus delphis (n = 7); striped dolphin, Stenella coeruleoalba (n = 3) and dusky dolphin, Lagenorhynchus obscurus (n = 2)) from the respiratory and gastro-intestinal tract, cranial sinus, liver, urogenital and mammary tract, fascia and blubber were investigated. Ten parasite species were identified, belonging to the Nematoda (Stenurus minor, Stenurus globicephalae, Halocercus sp. (Pseudaliidae), Anisakis sp. (Anisakidae), Crassicauda sp. (Crassicaudidae)), Cestoda (Phyllobothrium delphini and Monorygma grimaldii (Phyllobothriidae)), Trematoda (Brachicladium palliata and Brachicladium delphini (Brachicladiidae)) and Crustacea (Scutocyamus antipodensis (Cyamidae)). Some of the parasite species encountered comprises new records for their host. Although the material was not sampled within a systematic parasitological survey, the findings contain valuable new information about the parasite fauna of rare, vagile and vulnerable marine wildlife from a remote oceanic environment.
The assistance of the following people with specimen retrieval, necropsy or sample collection is acknowledged: Derek Cox, Jim Fyfe and Steve Harraway (Department of Conservation, New Zealand), Steve Dawson and Ewan Fordyce (University of Otago), Stu Hunter, Anna Kokosinska and Karen Stockin and her team (Massey University), Emma Burns and Trudi Webster (Otago Museum), Hoani Langsbury (Ngai Tahu, Te Runanga o Otakou), Mandy Home (Ngai Tahu, Arowhenua Runanga) and Tama Taita (Penguin Place). The authors thank Bronwen Presswell for her logistical and technical advice. Kristina Lehnert was funded by the Volkswagen Foundation under the programme “Research in Museums” (AZ 89911).
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