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Characterization of the heartworm Acanthocheilonema spirocauda (Leidy, 1858) Anderson, 1992 (Nematoda: Onchocercidae) in Scandinavia

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The heartworm Acanthocheilonema spirocauda (Leidy, Proc Acad Nat Sci Philadelphia 10:110–112, 1858) Anderson, 1992 is described from material collected from harbour seals in Scandinavia and compared with types and other specimens described by Anderson (Can J Zool 37:481–493, 1959) from harbour seals in eastern USA. Most morphometric characters of the material from USA fall within the ranges established for the Scandinavian one. Some intraspecific variability in the organisation of papillae on the male tail was detected among the Scandinavian specimens. Differences between the specimens from Scandinavia and Eastern USA are also found in the organisation of papillae on the tail of males and females. An excretory pore was not discernible, but a clearly hemizonid-like structure is described. For the first time, scanning electron micrographs present external morphological structures of the species.

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We are grateful to Dr. Eric Hoberg and Patricia Pilitt for arranging the loan of types and other specimens from the USNPC. Dr. Elín Sigvaldadóttir (SMNH) is thanked for assistance with arranging the SEM plate. The study was partially funded by a stipend to SB from Riksmusei Vänner to invite SL as a guest researcher in the SMNH.

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Correspondence to Sonja Leidenberger.

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Leidenberger, S., Boström, S. Characterization of the heartworm Acanthocheilonema spirocauda (Leidy, 1858) Anderson, 1992 (Nematoda: Onchocercidae) in Scandinavia. Parasitol Res 104, 63–67 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-008-1159-1

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  • Harbour Seal
  • Intraspecific Variability
  • Nerve Ring
  • Excretory Pore
  • Morphometric Character