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One snail – three Digenea species, different strategies in host-parasite interaction

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image of Animal Biology

The mostly lab-based studies on snail-trematode interactions should be complemented by research on naturally invaded hosts. In this mini-review, three different ways of snail exploitation by Digenea larvae are presented. Morphological, physiological and behavioral changes caused by three parasites in the same naturally infected host – Lymnaea stagnalis – differ in species-dependent fashion. The impact of a snail-trematode interaction depends on parasite virulence (i.e. parasite induced lost of fitness of the host). The pathogenicity varies with the survival strategy of the invader. Sporocyst-born Plagiorchis elegans, which uses the same Lymnaea stagnalis individual as a first but also as a second intermediate host, does not disturb host processes as strongly as redia-born Echinoparyphium aconiatum. The third parasite species – Diplostomum pseudospathaceum, also sporocyst-born – is more virulent than P. elegans, but it can modify and relax host exploitation to overwinter in the snail. The data presented demonstrate that successful use of first intermediate host can be arranged in different ways.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Invertebrate Zoology, Institute of General and Molecular Biology, Nicolaus Copernicus University Torún, Poland


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