whale parasite - C.Iburg
C.Iburg

Diplogonoporus balaenopterae (Lönnberg, 1891) from Balaenoptera acutirostrata (Minke whale)
CMNPA 1999-0008

This is a tapeworm that is often found in the small intestine of minke and sei whales but can also infect dogs and people who eat uncooked infected whale meat or fish (which might carry the larval stages of many parasites). Like many parasites, tapeworms use different members of a food chain to foster and pass along the various life stages of the worm. The eggs of Diplogonoporus, shed in the feces of the whale, are eaten and hatch within small crustaceans called copepods, which are then eaten by small fish, later sieved out of the water by baleen whales such as the minke.

tapeworm parasite closeup - C.Iburg
C.Iburg