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J Parasitol. 1990 Aug;76(4):557-63.

The effect of Schistosoma haematobium infection on the growth and fecundity of three sympatric species of bulinid snails.

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School of Animal Biology, University College of North Wales, Bangor, Gwynedd, United Kingdom.


Three species of bulinid snails were monitored to determine the effect of infection with 2 sympatric strains of Schistosoma haematobium on longevity, growth, and reproductive output, from the onset of cercarial production until death. Bulinus senegalensis was least affected by infection, with total fecundity reduced by less than 34%. Infected Bulinus truncatus showed an acceleration in growth accompanied by a 63% reduction in fecundity, although the majority of snails continued to oviposit at a low level. The longest-lived snails in this study, Bulinus globosus, showed decreased growth and survival when infected. In addition a significant proportion of infected individuals of this species failed to oviposit, and those that retained some reproductive capacity produced fewer embryos than controls. Total fecundity of B. globosus was reduced almost 90% by infection with S. haematobium, yet long-term monitoring of individuals showed that reproductive activity recovered when parasite productivity was low. Results from this and similar studies indicate that the time of infection by a trematode in relation to reproductive maturity of the molluscan host is important in determining the subsequent effects on host growth and fecundity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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