Many digenean cercariae have been shown to emerge from their molluscan hosts with distinct shedding patterns that have enabled the discrimination of morphologically similar species, or even strains. In this study the cercarial emission patterns of three strigeid species, Ichthyocotylurus erraticus, I. variegatus and Apatemon gracilis, from experimentally infected natural hosts were found to exhibit rhythms that correlated with the light:dark cycle. Both Ichthyocotylurus spp. exhibited a diurnal pattern of release in which cercariae emerged during the light period. Each demonstrated a latent period before the liberation of large numbers of cercariae and yielded similar numbers of cercariae daily. These rhythms offered no means for the discrimination of these two morphologically similar species. A. gracilis cercariae demonstrated a very different circadian rhythm in which the majority emerged at the onset of darkness with no latent period, whereas the cercarial numbers released daily were far greater. Differences could be related to piscine host behaviour.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science
- Infectious Diseases