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The trouble with sealworms (Pseudoterranova decipiens species complex, Nematoda): a review

  • G. MCCLELLAND (a1)


Sealworms or codworms, larvae of ascaridoid nematodes belonging to the Pseudoterranova decipiens species complex, infect the flesh of numerous species of marine and euryhaline fish, and have proven a chronic and costly cosmetic problem for seafood processors. Moreover, the parasite may cause abdominal discomfort in humans when consumed in raw, undercooked or lightly marinated fish. In this review, the phylogeny, life cycle and distributions of sealworms are discussed along with biotic and abiotic factors which may influence distributions of these parasites in their intermediate and final hosts. Also considered here are efforts to control the problem through commercial fishing practices, fish processing technology, and the reduction of infection parameters in marine fish populations by biological means. Ironically, concern over sealworm problem has subsided in some fisheries in recent years, not as a result of falling infection parameters in fish stocks or innovations in processing technology, but as a consequence of declines in abundance and size of groundfish.


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