Killer whales are top predators in most marine ecosystems and impact the populations of common prey, such as seals and sea lions in breeding areas. Killer whales are host to some endoparasites and ectoparasites. They are host to killer whale lice (Cyamus orcini), trematodes (Fasciola skiranini), cestodes (Trigonocotyle spasskyi), and nematodes (Anasakis simplex).
A disease that affects killer whales and is often studied is toxoplasmosis (Toxoplasma gondii). While this parasite is often benign, it can have serious and fatal effects.
- Chadwick, D. 2001. Evolution of Whales. National Geographic, Vol. 200 Issue 5: 64-78.
- Heyning, J., M. Dahlheim. 1988. Orcinus orca. Mammalian Species, 304: 1-9.
- Murata, K., K. Mizuta, K. Imazu, F. Terasawa, M. Taki, T. Endoh. 2004. The Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii Antibodies in Wild and Captive Cetaceans from Japan.. The Journal of Parasitology, 90: 896-898.
No one has provided updates yet.