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Relationships among three species of littorina and their larval digenea


The sympatric species Littorina saxatilis (Olivi), L. obtusata (L.), and L. littorea (L.) from the northeast coast of the USA were examined seasonally for larval trematodes. Snails were collected from two sites in Maine and one in Rhode Island. Eight species of Digenea were found: Microphallus pygmaeus (Levinsen, 1881), Microphallus similis (Jagerskiold, 1900), Microphallus sp., Cryptocotyle lingua (Creplin, 1825), Himasthla sp., Renicola roscovita (Stunkard, 1932), Podocotyle atomon (Rudolphi, 1809), and Cercaria lebouri (Stunkard, 1932). All 8 species were found to infect L. obtusata. Only Cercaria lebouri was absent from L. saxatilis. L. littorea was only infected with three species, M. pygmaeus, Cryptocotyle lingua, and R. roscovita. L. littorea does not appear to be a normal host for M. pygmaeus. Variation in occurrence and incidence of larval trematodes in snails from the three sites was related to the occurrence of the definitive hosts. Different seasonal variations in incidence of C. lingua and M. pygmaeus in L. obtusata and L. saxatilis were probably due to mortality of the snail hosts and the habits of the intermediate and definitive hosts. The incidence of C. lingua increased with increasing host size, but the incidence of M. pygmaeus reached a peak in smaller size classes. Although females were more abundant, significantly more male L. obtusata were infected at one Maine site.

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Communicated by M.R. Tripp, Newark

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Pohley, W.J. Relationships among three species of littorina and their larval digenea. Marine Biology 37, 179–186 (1976).

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  • Seasonal Variation
  • Size Classis
  • Definitive Host
  • Maine Site
  • Sympatric Species