New study shows parasitic flatworms take destiny by the tail
In the research article "Larval swimming overpowers turbulent mixing and facilitates transmission of a marine parasite," appearing in the September issue of the Ecological Society of Americas journal Ecology, Jonathan Fingerut of the University of California-Los Angeles and colleagues describe the results of the first study to examine larval behavior versus passive-transport processes under natural and simulated water flow conditions.
H. rhigedana is one of the most common parasitic flatworms found in southern California. Sexual reproduction takes place in definitive host birds, which defecate the parasites eggs into marshes. The first swimming larval stage (miracidia) infect the California horn snail, causing castration and other sublethal effects. Asexual reproduction ensues, producing tens of free-swimming cercariae per snail per day, which encyst on other snails and crabs as second intermediate hosts. Birds which eat the snails and crabs complete the parasites life cycle.
Annie Drinkard | EurekAlert!
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