The role of the invasive snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum in the transmission of trematode parasites in Europe and its implications for ecotoxicological studies
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- Morley, N.J. Aquat. Sci. (2008) 70: 107. doi:10.1007/s00027-007-7052-7
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Potamopyrgus antipodarum is an invasive freshwater mollusc in Europe introduced from Australasia in the late 19th century and now commonly distributed throughout the continent. It has frequently been used as a model species for a range of ecological disciplines, and recently has been increasingly utilised for ecotoxicological work, particularly the impact of endocrine disrupting chemicals. However, molluscs are commonly infected with trematode parasites, which can disrupt a range of ecological and physiological host functions including the endocrine system, and may be an undetected source of distortion for pollution studies. It is therefore important to know what role P. antipodarum may play in the transmission of trematodes in Europe. This study assessed the extent of trematode parasitism in P. antipodarum European populations, from both indigenous parasite species and those introduced accidentally through the international trade in fish and birds. In addition, the combined effects of parasitism and pollution on molluscan physiology and ecology is summarized and the implications for ecotoxicological studies using P. antipodarum evaluated.