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Trematode maturation patterns in a migratory snail host: What happens during upshore residency in a Mediterranean lagoon?

Abstract

Maturation of trematode larval stages is expected to be temporally and spatially adapted to maximise the encounter with the adequate downstream host, i.e. the host, which will be infected by this parasite stage. Since studies on intramolluscan parasite maturation are scarce but important in the context of parasite transmission, the larval development inside sporocysts was monitored during upshore residency of the snail host Gibbula adansonii (Trochidae), i.e., from March to May (2011 and 2013), when these snails temporarily reside in the intertidal habitat of a Western Mediterranean lagoon (40° 37′ 35″ N, 0° 44′ 31″ E, Spain). Data on the relative quantity of different maturation stages of Cainocreadium labracis and Macvicaria obovata (Opecoelidae) parasitising the G. adansonii as well as on snail and sporocyst size were explored using linear models and linear mixed models. The effect of the trematodes on snail growth was shown to be species-specific, with snail and sporocyst size acting as proxies of the reproductive capacity of M. obovata but not that of C. labracis. The number of cercarial embryos and germinal balls did not show monthly variation in either parasite species, but a higher number of mature stages and the highest maturity index was found in April. Hence, during the snail’s limited spawning-related presence in the upshore waters of the lagoon, continuous production and output of infectious cercariae was observed, which indicates a link between larval maturation and snail migration. The synchronization of snails, mature parasite transmission stages and downstream hosts in time and space guarantees a successful completion of the life cycle.

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Acknowledgments

The authors highly acknowledge the help of Tsukushi Kamiya for the design and adjustment of the statistical models, and Gabrielle S. van Beest for the help with snail measurements. This research was supported by the following projects: Prometeo/2015/018 and Revidpaqua ISIC/2012/003 funded by the Local Valencian Government (JAR), CGL2011-30413 project funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (AB-T) and by the European Centre of Ichtyoparasitology (grant 505/12/G112, Center of Excellence) funded by the Czech Science Foundation, (ASH). AB-T is the recipient of a doctoral fellowship (Ministry of Education and Science, Spain; grant AP2009-2560).

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Correspondence to Ana Born-Torrijos.

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Born-Torrijos, A., Raga, J.A. & Holzer, A.S. Trematode maturation patterns in a migratory snail host: What happens during upshore residency in a Mediterranean lagoon?. Parasitol Res 115, 575–585 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-015-4774-7

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Keywords

  • Larval maturation
  • Snail migration
  • Trematodes
  • Cainocreadium labracis
  • Macvicaria obovata
  • Mediterranean lagoon