Mechanisms underlying digenean-snail specificity: role of miracidial attachment and host plasma factors

The Journal of Parasitology
K K Sapp, E S Loker


Digenetic trematodes usually show a high degree of specificity for their molluscan intermediate hosts. A panel of 4 digenean species (Echinostoma paraensei, E. trivolvis, Schistosoma mansoni, and Schistosomatium douthitti) and 5 snail species (Biomphalaria glabrata, Helisoma trivolvis, Lymnaea stagnalis, Stagnicola elodes, and Helix aspersa representing 3 gastropod families) was used to assess the relative contributions of miracidial behavior, host plasma osmolality, and host plasma factors in dictating specificity. Additional experiments were undertaken with a fifth digenean, Echinoparyphium sp. Expected patterns of compatibility were first confirmed; each parasite species produced patent infections in its known snail host, but not in the other snail species. One exception was S. douthitti, which unexpectedly did not infect L. stagnalis. As judged by direct observation and by noting their disappearance after exposure to snails, miracidia were generally less likely to attach to or penetrate incompatible than compatible hosts. However, over half of the miracidia of each parasite species attached to or attempted penetration of both compatible and incompatible hosts, suggesting that under the experimental conditions used, miracidi...Continue Reading


Apr 1, 1987·International Journal for Parasitology·C Combes, H Moné
Dec 1, 1994·International Journal for Parasitology·D I Gibson, R A Bray
Jan 1, 1994·Parasitology·M L Adamson, J N Caira
Aug 5, 1997·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·C M AdemaE S Loker

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