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Parasitol Int. 2014 Feb;63(1):94-9. doi: 10.1016/j.parint.2013.09.009. Epub 2013 Sep 20.

Insights into the development of Notocotylus attenuatus (Digenea: Notocotylidae) in Lymnaea stagnalis: from mother sporocyst to cercariae.

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Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Viničná 7, 128 44 Prague 2, Czech Republic. Electronic address:


Notocotylus attenuatus (Digenea: Notocotylidae) is a monostome fluke parasitizing the intestinal caeca of waterfowl that uses an injection apparatus to infect its intermediate snail host. Morphology of the invading larva (a sporocyst), and the intramolluscan larval development of this fluke have not been characterized extensively. In this study, experimental infections of Lymnaea stagnalis using N. attenuatus eggs resulted in the development of sporocysts containing one germ ball or mother redia between 12 and 21 days post exposure (p.e.) within the hepatopancreas. Independent mother rediae and developing daughter rediae were present between day 25 and day 42 p.e. Cercariae, within the body of rediae, were detected 42 days p.e. The development of daughter rediae and cercariae started posteriorly in the body of parent redia and these larvae migrated anteriorly during development towards the birth pore. A cercaria was also observed emerging from the birth pore and released cercariae maturated further within the snail hepatopancreas prior to leaving the snail. The intramolluscan development was completed 45 days p.e. when the first fully formed cercariae were shed into the outer environment. These data detail the fascinating post-embryonic development of N. attenuatus and highlight the intricate nature of larval transitions within its snail host.


Cercariae; Intramolluscan development; Lymnaea stagnalis; Notocotylus attenuatus; Rediae; Sporocysts; Trematodes

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