Snail intermediate host/Schistosoma haematobium relationships from three transmission sites in Benin (West Africa)
The relationships between three strains of Schistosoma haematobium (Doh, Sô-Tchanhoué and Toho-Todougba; from Benin, West Africa) and their snail hosts were assessed by measurement of several life-history traits, including the infection rate; pre-patent period; cercarial production of each parasite strain; and growth, fecundity and survival of the host snails. Adaptations to its local snail host was found for the Toho-Todougba strain and included a short pre-patent period, a long patent period and production of more cercariae in its local snail host. In contrast, the life-history traits of the Doh and Sô-Tchanhoué strains indicated non-local adaptations, as some sympatric host–parasite combinations were not compatible, the highest infection rates occurred in the allopatric snail Bulinus wrighti, and the duration of cercarial production was short because of the high level of mortality of the snails. Furthermore, snail reproduction ceased following infection by each of the three parasite strains, and the life-history traits were not influenced by the miracidial dose.
This research was supported by a grant from the Cooperative Programme for Academic and Scientific Research, CORUS 2–6069, developed by the Department for International Cooperation and Development of the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. The authors sincerely thank Bernard Matchi and Célestin Avlessi for their help during the field work. The 2EI laboratory is a WHO Collaborating Center for Biological Control and Snail/Parasite relationships.
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