Parasitology Research

, Volume 116, Issue 1, pp 45–59 | Cite as

Life cycle and biology of Tristriata anatis (Digenea: Notocotylidae): morphological and molecular approaches

  • Anna Gonchar
  • Kirill V. Galaktionov
Original Paper


Notocotylids are common digeneans parasitising birds and mammals. They have a two-host life cycle with cercariae encysting in the open. Particular life cycles remain unknown for majority of notocotylid species, including a common parasite of sea ducks Tristriata anatis. Here we resolve the life cycle of T. anatis by means of D2 LSU, ITS1 and CO1 DNA sequence analysis, showing that the first intermediate hosts for this species are periwinkles Littorina spp. Morphological descriptions of rediae and cercariae are provided for the first time, and we also supplement the existing morphological data on adults. Apart from differential diagnosis, we discuss some features of cercariae and rediae biology, geographical distribution and host range. Our molecular data confirm that genus Tristriata is monotypic and that T. anatis has circumpolar distribution. CO1 sequence analysis has shown that isolation exists between the Atlantic and Pacific populations of T. anatis, suggesting that there are geographical races. We suppose that their formation may be linked to the Last Ice Age events, when trans-Arctic bird migrations ceased and periwinkle ranges shrunk. These made transfer of parasites across the Arctic impossible, and it still has not resumed. We discuss the possible influence of host vagility and adults’ lifespan on digeneans’ potential for geographical colonisation.


Digenea Notocotylidae Trematode Marine parasites Life cycle Phylogeography Circumpolar distribution Parthenitae 



This study was funded by the Russian Science Foundation (grant number 14-14-00621). We are grateful to Karl Skírnisson, Andrei Granovitch, Daria Aleshkina and Ksenia Volovik for providing samples from certain locations, and Damien Jouet, above that, for his great assistance in parts of the work. Field research was largely based at the White Sea Biological Station of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ZIN RAS), and molecular research at the Laboratory of molecular systematics ZIN RAS. Part of the sequencing was performed at the research resource centre “Molecular and cell technologies” (St Petersburg State University).


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Invertebrate ZoologySt Petersburg State UniversitySt PetersburgRussia
  2. 2.Zoological Institute RASSt PetersburgRussia

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