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Acta Trop. 1993 Jun;54(1):13-8.

The introduction of Melanoides tuberculata (Mollusca: Thiaridae) to the island of Saint Lucia (West Indies) and its role in the decline of Biomphalaria glabrata, the snail intermediate host of Schistosoma mansoni.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Biologie Marine et Malacologie, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Centre de Biologie et d'Ecologie Tropicale et Méditérranéenne, Perpignan, France.


A malacological survey was carried out in May 1992 in the whole hydrographic system of Saint Lucia 11 years after the end of a biological control programme to eliminate Biomphalaria glabrata, the snail intermediate host of Schistosoma mansoni. A competitor snail, Melanoides tuberculata, was introduced to Saint Lucia in 1978 and field experiments in several habitats were conducted by Prentice between 1978 and 1986. At the present time M. tuberculata is the most common freshwater snail in Saint Lucia. The results of the survey, undertaken in sites where B. glabrata occurred in large populations in the past showed (i) the absence of the snail hosts from seven sites now extensively colonized by the competitor (ii) the presence of B. glabrata in low or very low densities in 17 sites together with the competitor and (iii) the presence of the intermediate hosts in large populations in only two sites where M. tuberculata was absent. These results confirm the positive results observed by Prentice. The presence of another planorbid snail, B. straminea, is reported for the first time in Saint Lucia.

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