Patterns of parasite site selection, variation in infection parameters and interspecific associations are examined in the light of new field data on larval microphallids in Gammarus insensibilis from a Black Sea lagoon. These patterns are discussed in relation to the predictions for the manipulative effect of Microphallus papillorobustus and its relationships with the other microphallid species based on studies on the French Mediterranean coast. Four species were recovered: Maritrema subdolum, Microphallus hoffmanni, M. papillorobustus and Levinseniella propinqua. The latter two were located in both corporal and cephalic segments, but the selection of brain appeared stronger for L. propinqua. M. subdolum was the first colonizer of amphipod population recruits, and unequivocally the dominant species in the lagoon. There was a significant positive relationship between the parasite load of all 4 species. Concurrent infections were exceedingly frequent, and no departures from random association were detected. We found no evidence that the cerebral metacercariae of M. papillorobustus consistently predict the parasite load of any of the other species in the system and identify sources for heterogeneity that may account for the differences between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean system: habitat heterogeneity, bird diversity and host-parasite systems used to infer relationships between microphallids.