September 16, 2010
September 16 - Balaenophilus manatorum
Balaenophilus manatorum is an ectoparasitic parasite of sea turtles and possibly manatees as well. Recently, specimens of this parasite were obtained from stranded loggerheads on the Spanish coast. Gross morphological and SEM studies could not distinguish these copepods from others that had been found on sea turtles off of Japan and so, for the moment, have been classified as that species. The parasites can be incredibly dense -the authors of this paper note that thousands were found on individual juvenile turtles. Other parasitologists have speculated that this species is the same copepod that has also been found on manatees in the Caribbean. Thus, either this parasite is very much a generalist or there are cryptic species yet to be determined.