, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 215-225

Observations on the morphology and life-cycle of Procerovum varium (Onji & Nishio, 1916) (Trematoda: Heterophyidae)

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The life-cycle of Procerovum varium (Digenea: Haplorchiinae) was studied experimentally and the morphology of stages in the life-cycle has been described and illustrated. Infections with adult flukes were found in the pond heron Ardeola grayii and heavy infections with metacercariae were found, attached to the liver of the fish Oryzias melastigma (Oryziatidae) occurring in a freshwater stream situated in Visakhapatnam, India. The cercariae developing in the snail Thiara tuberculatapossessed typical haplorchiine features and were characterised by the presence of numerous cystogenous glands. Early stages of metacercarial development occurred free in the muscles of the fish intermediate host. The larvae reached the liver at 5 days post-infection, encystment commenced 2 days later and 15-day-old metacercariae were found to be infective to chicks, ducks and mice that served as suitable experimental hosts. The adult flukes obtained from natural and experimental infections showed many intraspecific variations, especially in the size and shape of the expulsor which depend on the quantity of sperm it contains. The validity of various species described in the genus and differentiated on the basis of differences in the size of the expulsor has been examined. It is concluded that only three species of the genus, namely P. varium, P. cheni and P. calderoni, are valid. "P. sisoni" of Chen (1949) is confirmed as a synonym of P. varium. P. varium is reported for the first time from India.