, Volume 103, Issue 4, pp 509–517

Spatial variation in infection by digenetic trematodes in a population of freshwater snails (Potamopyrgus antipodarum)

  • Jukka Jokela
  • Curtis M. Lively
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/BF00328690

Cite this article as:
Jokela, J. & Lively, C.M. Oecologia (1995) 103: 509. doi:10.1007/BF00328690


Larval digenetic trematodes commonly castrate their first intermediate hosts, and should therefore impose strong selection on the timing and mode of host reproduction. Here we examine spatial variation in infection by trematodes in the freshwater snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum. Snails were collected at 11 different sites at Lake Alexandrina on the South Island of New Zealand from transects that ran perpendicular to the shore and across several different habitat types (from 0 to 8 m deep). Logistic regression was used to analyze the relationships between the frequency of trematode infection and snail size, habitat type, and transect location. On average, the probability of infection increased 3.3 times with each 1 mm increase in shell length. Prevalence of infection by the most common species of trematode, Microphallus sp., was highest in the shallow-water habitats where its final hosts (waterflow) spend most of their time. Prevalence of infection by another parasite, Telogaster ophistorchis (final host: eels) increased with depth, but because Microphallus was much more common, total infection by all trematodes decreased with depth. The effects of transect location were minor for Telogaster, but there was significant variation in Microphallus prevalence among transects, especially in the shore-bank habitat. Taken together, these results suggest that the risk of infection is spatially variable, but generally higher in shallow-water habitats, which may explain the greater frequency of sexual individuals as well as earlier reproduction among individuals near shore.

Key words

Castrating parasitesSpatial variationFreshwater gastropodParasite life cycleHabitat

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jukka Jokela
    • 1
  • Curtis M. Lively
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory of Ecological ZoologyUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland