, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp 885-894

Differential Parasitism of Native and Introduced Snails: Replacement of a Parasite Fauna

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The role of parasites in a marine invasion was assessed by first examining regional patterns of trematode parasitism in the introduced Japanese mud snail, Batillaria cumingi (= B. attramentaria), in nearly all of its introduced range along the Pacific Coast of North America. Only one parasite species, which was itself a non-native species, Cercaria batillariae was recovered. Its prevalence ranged from 3 to 86%. Trematode diversity and prevalence in B. cumingi and a native sympatric mud snail, Cerithidea californica, were also compared in Bolinas Lagoon, California. Prevalence of larval trematodes infecting snails as first intermediate hosts was not significantly different (14% in B. cumingi vs 15% in C. californica). However, while the non-native snail was parasitized only by one introduced trematode species, the native snail was parasitized by 10 native trematode species. Furthermore, only the native, C. californica, was infected as a second intermediate host, by Acanthoparyphium spinulosum(78% prevalence). Given the high host specificity of trematodes for first intermediate hosts, in marshes where B. cumingi is competitively excluding C. californica, 10 or more native trematodes will also become locally extinct.