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Echeneid–sirenian associations, with information on sharksucker diet

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Association of the sharksucker Echeneis naucrates and whitefin sharksucker E. neucratoides with the West Indian manatee Trichechus manatus and the dugong Dugong dugon is presented and discussed. Alimentary tract-content analysis and field observations suggest that coprophagy (feeding on host faecal material) may be the primary food source for echeneids associated with sirenian hosts.

Keywords: Dugong dugon; Echeneis; Trichechus manatus; commensalism; coprophagy

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Department of Marine Sciences, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, P. O. Box 908, Lajas, Puerto Rico 00667-0908, 2: Caribbean Marine Mammal Laboratory, Department of Science and Technology, Universidad Metropolitana, P. O. Box 361715, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936-1715, 3: Caribbean Aquatic Animal Health Project, Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, P. O. Box 9012, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico 00681-9012, 4: Sirenia Project, Florida Integrated Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, 412 NE 16th Avenue, Gainesville, Florida 32601-3701, U.S.A., 5: Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas 77843-2258, U.S.A., 6: School of Tropical Environment Studies and Geography, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia and 7: Centre for Dolphin Studies, P. O. Box 1856, Plettenberg Bay 6600, South Africa

Publication date: 2003-11-01

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