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Onderstepoort J Vet Res. 2005 Jun;72(2):165-74.

Distribution, habitats and role as intermediate host of the freshwater snail, Bulinus forskalii, in South Africa.

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School of Environmental Sciences and Development, Zoology, North-West University Private Bag X6001, Potchefstroom, 2520, South Africa.


This paper focuses on the geographical distribution and habitats of Bulinus forskalii, the snail intermediate host of the conical fluke of equids, Gastrodiscus aegyptiacus as reflected by the 1209 samples in the database of the National Freshwater Snail Collection of South Africa. The 362 different loci on record represent an extensive distribution in KwaZulu-Natal Province, the Limpopo Province, the coastal areas of the Eastern Cape Province and the south-eastern part of the North West Province. Although it was recorded from all types of water-body represented in the database, the highest percentages of samples were recovered from dams (30.4%) and brooks (28.2%). The majority of samples came from perennial habitats (59.1%), 60.7% from habitats with standing water, 54.0% from habitats with clear water and 71.8% from habitats of which the water was described as fresh. The majority of samples (39.5%) were collected in habitats of which the substratum was recorded as muddy. The highest percentage of samples, by far (81.5%), was collected in habitats that fell within the mean yearly temperature interval ranging from 15-20 degrees C. An integrated decision tree constructed from the data in the database indicated that temperature and type of water-body played a decisive role in determining the presence of B. forskalii in a given area. The results of experimental exposure to miracidia of a local strain of both Schistosoma haematobium and Schistosoma mattheei in the laboratory indicated that a local strain of B. forskalii was incompatible with both these strains of parasite. Research to clarify the role of B. forskalii in the transmission of both Calicophoron microbothrium and G. aegyptiacus in South Africa, is recommended.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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