Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science

Degree Name

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Christopher Blanar, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

David Kerstetter, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Paul Arena, Ph.D.


Helminths, Metazoan, Acanthocephala, Arthropod, Annelida, Cestode, Digenea, Monogenea, Nematoda, Trematoda, Host, Parasite, List


This report is a synthetic survey of published accounts of 43 reef-associated fish species and their parasites from the east coast of North America, the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and regions adjacent to the south Florida reef tract. To date, no comprehensive host-parasite list is available for this region, although comparable reviews from other regions have played a vital role in the fields of parasitology and fish ecology, providing valuable guidance on sampling locations, available host fishes inhabiting the region, and inventories of parasites likely to be found infecting these host species. This systematic review of teleost host fish species and their parasites represents the first host-parasite database for major fish taxa commonly sampled from the south Florida coral reef tract during field surveys, specifically within Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. It includes data on 43 host species, with records of 341 parasite taxa compiled from 150 published studies, organized into host-parasite and parasite-host lists. The database also revealed major knowledge gaps in the literature. For example, while some host taxa are well-represented by many studies (e.g., Gray Snapper Lutjanus griseus), those of lesser economic or recreational importance have largely been neglected. This effort bias has likely led to an underestimation of the parasite species richness in less-studied host fishes; it also makes it difficult to derive any major conclusions regarding differences in parasite community composition or structure among these fishes. Thus, while univariate and multivariate analyses suggested (for example) that phylogenetically related hosts tended to have compositionally similar parasite communities, these results were likely driven by differences in the extent to which the different host taxa have been studied. A major outcome of this report is the identification of relatively underexamined fish host taxa that require further study and should be targeted by future parasite surveys.