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Parasitology. 2003 Sep;127(Pt 3):217-24.

Transmission, infectivity and survival of Diplostomum spathaceum cercariae.

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  • 1Department of Biological and Environmental Science, P.O. Box 35, 40014, University of Jyväskylä, Finland.


The transmission dynamics of the cercariae of Diplostomum spathaceum were investigated under laboratory conditions using cercariae collected from naturally infected Lymnaea stagnalis. Cercariae were kept in a constant temperature of 20 degrees C and the survival and infectivity to naïve young rainbow trout recorded at 3-h intervals until few cercariae were alive. Mortality initially remained constant but increased rapidly after 20 h. While a model of constant mortality fitted the survival data, an age-dependent model provided a better fit and implied that cercariae tended to carry similar quantities of resources and once these were exhausted the cercariae died. Cercarial infectivity also showed an age-dependent pattern although infectivity tended (P = 0.09) to increase with age over the first 6 h of life and then fall. The per capita transmission rate of cercariae was investigated by experimentally infecting rainbow trout under standardized conditions, first with an increasing cercarial density and second, by keeping density constant but increasing numbers of cercariae. The per capita transmission rate was frequency dependent and averaged 0.341/h (+/- 0.036).

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