Identification, distribution, and probability of infection in sympatric gastropods by digenean parasites at Pa-hay-okee, Everglades National Park using molecules and morphology

Paul Ryan Sharp, Florida International University

Abstract

In this study, I determined the identity, taxonomic placement, and distribution of digenetic trematodes parasitizing the snails Pomacea paludosa and Planorbella duryi at Pa-hay-okee, Everglades National Park. I also characterized temporal and geographic variation in the probability of parasite infection for these snails based on two years of sampling. Although studies indicate that digenean parasites may have important effects both on individual species and the structure of communities, there have been no studies of digenean parasitism on snails within the Everglades ecosystem. For example, the endangered Everglade Snail Kite, a specialist that feeds almost exclusively on Pomacea paludosa, and is known to be a definitive host of digenean parasites, may suffer direct and indirect effects from consumption of parasitized apple snails. Therefore, information on the diversity and abundance of parasites harbored in snail populations in the Everglades should be of considerable interest for management and conservation of wildlife. ^ Juvenile digeneans (cercariae) representing 20 species were isolated from these two snails, representing a quadrupling of the number of species known. Species were characterized based on morphological, morphometric, and sequence data (18S rDNA, COI, and ITS). Species richness of shed cercariae from P. duryi was greater than P. paludosa, with 13 and 7 species respectively. These species represented 14 families. P. paludosa and P. duryi had no digenean species in common. Probability of digenean infection was higher for P. duryi than P. paludosa and adults showed a greater risk of infection than juveniles for both of these snails. Planorbella duryi showed variation in probability of infection between sampling sites and hydrological seasons. The number of unique combinations of multi-species infections was greatest among P. duryi individuals, while the overall percentage of multi-species infections was greatest in P. paludosa. Analyses of six frequently-observed multiple infections from P. duryi suggest the presence of negative interactions, positive interactions, and neutral associations between larval digeneans. These results should contribute to an understanding of the factors controlling the abundance and distribution of key species in the Everglades ecosystem and may in particular help in the management and recovery planning for the Everglade Snail Kite. ^

Subject Area

Biology, Parasitology

Recommended Citation

Paul Ryan Sharp, "Identification, distribution, and probability of infection in sympatric gastropods by digenean parasites at Pa-hay-okee, Everglades National Park using molecules and morphology" (January 1, 2008). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. Paper AAI3343275.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI3343275

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