, Volume 248, Issue 3, pp 193–199 | Cite as

The life history and biology of Diceratocephala boschmai (Platyhelminthes; Temnocephalida), an ectosymbiont on the redclaw crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus

  • Timothy C. Jones
  • Robert J. G. Lester


Adults of the temnocephalan Diceratocephala boschmai, an ectocommensal on the crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus, deposited eggs on the host carapace. After 15 to 20 days at 28 °C, the eggs hatched into ciliated miniature adults with undeveloped reproductive organs, that remained attached to the host alongside the eggs. They grew and became gravid within 53 to 70 days if they were not dislodged. Most oviposited on the host on which they had hatched. Although larval temnocephalans have been described from in vitro work, this is the first temnocephalan life history to be described in vivo.

Juvenile worms frequently changed their position on the carapace. Adult worms were sedentary just prior to, and during oviposition, and were frequently found at the base of the large chelae, the ventral surface of the antennae and antennules, and at the base of the walking legs. The ventral margins of the abdomen, the mouthparts, and the interorbital-rostral area were secondarily inhabited.

It was calculated using an indirect regression that adult Diceratocephala boschmai survived on average 91 days when removed from the host but they did not produce eggs in vitro. On the host, adult worms lived an average of 48 days after the commencement of oviposition.

Key words

Cherax Temnocephalan life history site specificity 







ejaculatory sac


excretory canal






intertentacular flange


muscular peduncle






pharyngeal glands






seminal vesicle








vas deferens


vitelline glands


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy C. Jones
    • 1
  • Robert J. G. Lester
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ParasitologyUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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