Department of Biology

Dr. George BenzBENZ

Phone: (615) 898-5021
Fax: (615) 898-5093
Office Location: SCI 1055
Mail Address: Department of Biology Box 60
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, Tennessee U.S.A. 37132

Ph.D. Zoology (Parasitology), The University of British ColumbiaM.Sc. Renewable Natural Resources Conservation (Fisheries Science), The University of ConnecticutB.Sc. Biology, The University of Connecticut

I have broad interests in applied and basic biology and have worked on funded research involving a wide variety of subjects: parasites, freshwater mussels, freshwater turtles, and fishes. Primarily, however, I study the taxonomy, systematics, phylogeny, co-evolution, life history, and ecology of ectoparasites of fishes, most often focusing on parasites that infect sharks and rays. I also study the biology of fishes, often with regards to host-parasite relationships. My current research in this area deals with movements and feeding strategies of sleeper sharks. I am also interested in the husbandry of fishes, and I serve as a periodic consultant for various aquariums regarding the diagnosis and treatment of infectious pathogens.

Assoc. Ed., Journal of ParasitologyAssoc. Ed., Acta Ichthyologica et PiscatoriaAdjunct Scientist, Mote Marine LaboratoryRes. Assoc., Nat'l. Marine Fisheries Serv.Dir. Emer., TN Aquarium Research InstituteAdj. Fac., Warnell School of Forest Resources, University of Georgia

Publications: 112 total authored, co-authored or edited (73 peer-reviewed journal publications, 12 book or proceedings chapters, 3 co-edited or co-authored books/booklets, 5 book reviews and editorial comments, 12 technical reports, 7 popular articles)Presentations: 141 total authored or co-authored (62 invited keynotes or lectures, 79 contributed papers)

Selected peer-reviewed publications—

  • Benz, G. W., Z. Kabata, and S. A. Bullard.  2000.  Margolisius abditus n. gen., n. sp. (Copepoda: Lernaeopodidae) from gill lamellae of a remora (Remora remora) collected in the Gulf of California.  Journal of Parasitology 86: 241-244.
  • Bullard, S. A., G. W. Benz, and J. S. Braswell.  2000.  Dionchus postoncomiracidia (Monogenea: Dionchidae) from the skin of blacktip sharks, Carcharhinus limbatus (Carcharhinidae).  Journal of Parasitology 86: 245-250.
  • Bullard, S. A., G. W. Benz, R. M. Overstreet, E. H. Williams, Jr., and J. Hemdal.  2000.  Six new host records and an updated list of wild hosts for Neobenedenia melleni (McCallum) (Monogenea: Capsalidae).  Comparative Parasitology 67: 190-196.
  • Bullard, S. A., S. Frasca, Jr., and G. W. Benz.  2000.  Skin lesions caused by Dermophthirius penneri (Monogenea: Microbothriidae) on wild-caught blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus).  Journal of Parasitology 86: 618-622.
  • Dippenaar, S. M., G. W. Benz, and P. A. S. Olivier.  2000.  Kroyeria deetsi n.sp. (Kroyeriidae: Siphonostomatoida), a parasitic copepod infecting gills of spinner sharks, Carcharhinus brevipinna (Müller & Henle, 1839), in the Indian Ocean.  African Zoology 35(2): 185-192.
  • Benz, G. W., A. Kingman, and J. D. Borucinska.  2001.  Gillnet survival and healing by a porbeagle, Lamna nasus.  The Canadian Field-Naturalist 115(3): 506-509.
  • Benz, G. W., B. E. Smith, and S. A. Bullard.  2001.  Kroeyerina deetsorum n. sp. (Copepoda: Kroyeriidae) from the olfactory sacs of Atlantic sharpnose sharks (Rhizoprionodon terraenovae) captured in the Gulf of Mexico and northwestern Atlantic and first report of copepodids representing Kroyeriidae.  Journal of Parasitology  87: 1279-1290.
  • Bullard, S. A., S. Frasca, Jr., and G. W. Benz.  2001.  Gill lesions associated with Erpocotyle tiburonis (Monogenea: Hexabothriidae) on wild and aquarium-held bonnethead sharks (Sphyrna tiburo).  Journal of Parasitology 87: 972-977.
  • Dippenaar, S. M., P. A. S. Olivier, and G. W. Benz.  2001.  Kroyeria sphyrnae Rangnekar, 1957 (Copepoda, Siphonostomatoida, Kroyeriidae): first description of the male, supplementary remarks on the female, a new geographic record for the species, and a key to Kroyeria males.  Crustaceana 74: 883-894.
  • Vennemann, T. W., E. Hegner, G. Cliff, and G. W. Benz.  2001.  Isotopic composition of recent shark teeth as a proxy for environmental conditions.  Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 65: 1583-1599.
  • Benz, G. W., J. D. Borucinska, and S. A. Greenwald.  2002.  First descriptions of early- and middle-stage copepodids of Anthosoma crassum (Dichelesthiidae: Siphonostomatoida) and lesions on shortfin makos (Isurus oxyrinchus) infected with A. crassum.  Journal of Parasitology 88: 19-26.
  • Benz, G. W., J. D. Borucinska, L. F. Lowry, and H. E. Whiteley.  2002.  Ocular lesions associated with attachment of the copepod Ommatokoita elongata (Lernaeopodidae: Siphonostomatoida) to corneas of Pacific sleeper sharks Somniosus pacificus captured off Alaska in Prince William Sound.  Journal of Parasitology 88: 474-481.
  • Benz, G. W., K. Nagasawa, and J. Wetmore.  2002.  New host and ocean records for the parasitic copepod Bobkabata kabatabobbus (Lernaeosoleidae: Poecilstomatoida).  Pacific Science 56: 259-262.
  • Braswell, J. S., G. W. Benz, and G. B. Deets.  2002.  Taeniacanthodes dojirii n. sp. (Copepoda: Poecilostomatoida: Taeniacanthidae), from Cortez electric rays (Narcine entemedor: Torpediniformes: Narcinidae) captured in the Gulf of California, and a phylogenetic analysis of and key to species of Taeniacanthodes.  Journal of Parasitology 88: 28-35.
  • Benz, G. W., H. F. Mollet, D. A. Ebert, C. R. Davis, and S. R. Van Sommeran.  2003.  Five species of parasitic copepods (Siphonostomatoida: Pandaridae) from the body surface of a white shark captured in Morro Bay, California.  Pacific Science 57: 39-43.
  • Benz, G. W., and S. A. Bullard.  2004.  Metazoan parasites and associates of chondrichthyans with emphasis on taxa harmful to captive hosts.  Pp. 325-416.  In: The elasmobranch husbandry manual: captive care of sharks, rays and their relatives.  Smith, M., D. Warmolts, D. Thoney, and R. Hueter  (eds.).  Special Publication, Ohio Biological Survey, Columbus, OH.
  • Benz, G. W., R. Hocking, A. Kowunna, Sr., S. A. Bullard, and J. C. George.  2004.  A second species of Arctic shark: Pacific sleeper shark Somniosus pacificus from Point Hope, Alaska.  Polar Biology 27: 250-252.
  • Bullard, S. A., S. M. Dippenaar, E. R. Hoffmayer, and G. W. Benz.  2004.  New locality records for Dermophthirius carcharhini (Monogenea: Microbothriidae) and Dermophthirius maccallumi and a list of hosts and localities for species of Dermophthirius.  Comparative Parasitology 71: 78-80.
  • Dippenaar, S. M., P. A. S. Olivier, and G. W. Benz.  2004.  Schistobrachia jordaanae n. sp. (Copepoda: Siphonostomatoida: Lernaeopodidae) from gill filaments of a diamond ray (Gymnura natalensis) captured in the Indian Ocean and a key to species of Schistobrachia, Dendrapta, and Brianella.  Journal of Parasitology 90:481-484.
  • Skomal, G. B., and G. W. Benz.  2004.  Ultrasonic tracking of Greenland sharks, Somniosus microcephalus, under Arctic ice.  Marine Biology 145: 489-498.
  • Frasca, S., Jr., V. L. Kirsipuu, S. Russell, S. A. Bullard, and G. W. Benz.  2004.  Opercular lesion in wild black drum, Pogonias cromis (Linnaeus, 1766), associated with attachment of the sea louse Sciaenophilus tenuis (Copepoda: Siphonostomatoida: Caligidae).  Acta Ichthyologica et Piscatoria 34: 115-127.
  • Benz, G. W.  2005.  Taxonomic status of Penicillus Kumar et Hameed, 1993 and its only species, P. indicus Kumar et Hameed, 1993 (Pennellidae, Siphonostomatoida, Copepoda).  Acta Ichthyologica et Piscatoria 35: 139-141.
  • Benz, G. W.  2006.  A new genus and species of hyponeoid (Copepoda) from the olfactory sac of a gulper shark Centrophorus sp. (Squaliformes: Centrophoridae) captured off Madagascar.  Journal of Parasitology 92: 1207-1210.
  • Benz, G. W., K. Nagasawa, A. Yamaguchi, B. C. McMeans, and A. McElwain.  2006.  New host and ocean records for Driocephalus cerebrinoxius (Sphyriidae, Siphonostomatoida) and a reconsideration of phylogeny within Sphyriidae.  Acta Ichthyologica et Piscatoria 36: 1-9.
  • Benz, G. W., B. E. Smith, S. A. Bullard, and J. S. Braswell.  2007.  New genus and species of eudactylinid (Siphonostomatoida, Copepoda) from gill lamellae of ornate eagle rays, Aetomylaeus vespertilio (Myliobatidae), collected in the BeagleGulf off northern Australia.  Journal of Parasitology 93: 32-38.
  • Benz, G. W., E. R. Hoffmayer, W. B. Driggers III, D. Allen, L. E. Bishop, and D. A. Brown.  2007.  First record of a sleeper shark in the western Gulf of Mexico and comments on taxonomic uncertainty within Somniosus (Somniosus).  Bulletin of Marine Science 80: 343-351.
  • Ulicny, K. J., D. R. Stewart, A. McElwain, E. R. Salmon, S. A. Bullard, J. O. Cook, G. B. Skomal, H. L. Pratt, Jr., and G. W. Benz.  2007.  Sealing Whirl-Pak®-type bags containing wet samples.  Journal of the TennesseeAcademy of Science 82: 88-89.
  • McMeans, B.C., J.A. Olin, and G.W. Benz.  2009.  Stable-isotope comparisons between embryos and mothers of a placentatrophic shark species.  Journal of Fish Biology 75: 2464-2474.
  • Stewart, D. R., G. W. Benz, and G. D. Scholten.  2009.  Weight-length relationships and growth data for blue catfish from four Tennessee waterbodies.  Proceedings of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies 63: 140-146.
  • Blend, C. K., N. O. Dronen, J. S. Franks, and G. W. Benz.  2010.  Endohelminths of a snake mackerel, Gempylus serpens (Trichiuroidea: Gempylidae), from the Gulf of Mexico.  Gulf and Caribbean Research 22: 1-8.
  • McElwain, A., J. W. Kohl, J. Bojkovic, and G. W. Benz.  2010.  Distribution of Kroeyerina elongata (Kroyeriidae, Siphonostomatoida, Copepoda) in the olfactory sacs of the blue shark, Prionace glauca.  Journal of Parasitology 96: 887-896.
  • Benz, G. W., E. C. Greiner, S. R. Bowen, L. Goetz, and N. Evou.  2011.  Odd association and range extension of Caligus rufimaculatusWilson, 1905; Caligidae, Siphonostomatoida, Copepoda.  Gulf and Caribbean Research 23: 49-53.
  • Bullard, S. A., O. Olivares-Fuster, G. W. Benz, and C. R. Arias.  2011.  Molecules infer origins of ectoparasite infrapopulations on tuna.  Parasitology International 60: 447-451.
  • Kik, M. J. L., M. Janse, and G. W. Benz.  2011.  The sea louse Lepeophtheirus acutus (Caligidae, Siphonostomatoida, Copepoda) as a pathogen of aquarium-held elasmobranchs.  Journal of Fish Diseases 34: 793-799.
  • Bullard, S. A., C. F. Ruiz, A. McElwain, M. J. Murray, J. D. Borucinska, and G. W. Benz.  2012.  Huffmanela cf. carcharhini (Nematoda, Trichosomoididae, Huffmanelinae) from skin of a sandbar shark, Carcharhinus plumbeus, in the Pacific Ocean.  Journal of Parasitology 98: 333-340.
  • Tang, D., G. W. Benz, and K. Nagasawa.  In press.  Description of the male of Prosaetes rhinodontis (Wright, 1876) (Crustacea, Copepoda, Siphonostomatoida), with a proposal to synonymize Cecropidae Dana, 1849 and Amaterasidae Izawa, 2008 with Pandaridae Milne Edwards, 1840.  Zoosymposia.
  • Young, J. M., S. Frasca, Jr., S. H. Gruber, and G. W. Benz.  In review.  Monogenean infection of neonatal and older juvenile lemon sharks, Negaprion brevirostris (Carcharhinidae), in a shark nursery.  Journal of Parasitology

Edited Books—

Benz, G. W., and D. E. Collins (eds.).  1997.  Aquatic Fauna in Peril: The Southeastern Perspective. Special Publication 1, Southeast Aquatic Research Institute, Lenz Design and Communications, Decatur, GA, 554 p.

● Williamson, D. F., G. W. Benz, and C. M. Hoover (eds.).  1999.  Proceedings of the Symposium on the Harvest, Trade and Conservation of North American Paddlefish and Sturgeon, May 7-8, 1998, Chattanooga, TN.  TRAFFIC North America and World Wildlife Fund, Washington, DC, 293 p.

Honorary Patronyms

Kroeyerina benzorum Deets, 1987
Selachohemecus benzi Bullard, Overstreet et Carlson, 2006

Established & Co-Established Higher TAXA & Species

Jusheyus Deets et Benz, 1986, gen. nov. (Eudactylinidae, Siphonostomatoida)

Bobkabata Hogans et Benz, 1990, gen. nov. (Chondracanthidae, Poecilostomata)

Margolisius Kabata et Benz, 2000, gen. nov. (Lernaeopodidae, Siphonostomatoida)

Greeniedeets Benz, 2006, gen. nov. (Hyponeoidae, Siphonostomatoida)

Janinecaira Benz, Smith, Bullard et Braswell, 2006, gen. nov. (Eudactylinidae, Siphonostomatoida)

Kroyeria caseyi Benz et Deets, 1986, sp. nov. (Kroyeriidae, Copepoda)

Eudactylinodes keratophagus Deets et Benz, 1986, sp. nov. (Eudactylinidae, Copepoda)

Dermophthirius penneri Benz, 1987, sp. nov. (Microbothriidae, Monogenea)

Echthrogaleus disciarai Benz et Deets, 1987, sp. nov. (Pandaridae, Copepoda)

Jusheyus shogunus Deets et Benz, 1987, sp. nov. (Eudactylinidae, Copepoda)

Lernanthropinus nematistii Deets et Benz, 1988, sp. nov. (Lernanthropidae, Copepoda)

Albionella kabatai Benz et Izawa, 1990, sp. nov. (Lernaeopodidae, Copepoda)

Bobkabata kabatabobbus Hogans et Benz, 1990, sp. nov. (Chondracanthidae, Copepoda)

Trebius shiinoi Nagasawa, Tanaka, et Benz, 1998, sp. nov. (Trebiidae, Copepoda)

Margolisius abditus Kabata et Benz, 2000, sp. nov. (Lernaeopodidae, Copepoda)

Kroyeria deetsi Dippenaar, Benz et Olivier, 2000, sp. nov. (Kroyeriidae, Copepoda)

Kroeyerina deetsorum Benz, Smith et Bullard, 2001, sp. nov. (Kroyeriidae, Copepoda)

Taeniacanthodes dojirii Braswell, Benz et Deets, 2002, sp. nov. (Taeniacanthidae, Copepoda)

Schistobrachia jordaanae Dippenaar, Olivier et Benz, 2004, sp. nov. (Lernaeopodidae, Copepoda)

Greeniedeets buccaneer Benz, 2006, sp. nov. (Hyponeoidae, Copepoda)

Janinecaira darkthread Benz, Smith, Bullard et Braswell, 2007, sp. nov. (Eudactylinidae, Copepoda)


● Associate Professor, MTSU (2004-2008)

● Director (founding), Tennessee Aquarium Research Institute (1997-2003)

● Chief Research Scientist, Tennessee Aquarium (1994-2003)

● Curator of Fishes, Tennessee Aquarium (1992-1994)

● Supervisor of Laboratory and Biological Services, Tennessee Aquarium (1991-1992)

● Fisheries Biologist, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (1980-1985)


Andrew McElwain (M.Sc. 2007, MTSU).

Thesis research: Infection patterns of Kroeyerina elongata Wilson, 1932, Kroyeriidae, Copepoda, on the blue shark, Prionace glauca (L., 1758).  (published as McElwain et al. 2004; other publications co-authored by Andrew stemming from his work at MTSU: Benz et al., 2006; Ulicny et al., 2007; see above for full references).

David Randall Stewart, Jr. (M.Sc. 2009, MTSU).

Thesis research: Age and growth of blue catfish, Ictalurus furcatus (Lesueur, 1840), among three exploited and one unexploited waterbodies in Tennessee.  (published as Stewart et al., 2009; another publication co-authored by "Randy" stemming from his work at MTSU: Ulicny et al., 2007; see above for full references).

Eric Salmon (M.Sc. student, MTSU).

Thesis research: Spatial distribution of Eudactylina sp. (Eudactylinidae, Siphonostomatoida, Copepoda) on gills of sand devils captured in the Gulf of Mexico.  (publication co-authored by Eric stemming from his work at MTSU: Ulicny et al., 2007; see above for full reference).


It is good luck to any man to be on the good side of the man that knows Fish - Izaak Walton