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      Larval trematodes (Digenea) of planorbid snails (Gastropoda: Pulmonata) in Central Europe: a survey of species and key to their identification.

      Systematic Parasitology

      isolation & purification, classification, anatomy & histology, Trematoda, Species Specificity, parasitology, Snails, Larva, Europe, Animals

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          A survey of the larval stages (cercariae and metacercariae) of trematodes (Digenea) found in planorbid snails in Central Europe (Austria, Czech Republic, south-east Germany, Hungary, Poland and the Slovak Republic) is presented based on a study of 7,628 snails of 12 species examined between 1998-2006. A total of 34 trematode larval stages, comprising cercariae of 28 species and metacercariae of seven species (one species occurred both as cercaria and metacercaria) of nine families were found in 898 (11.5%) snails of eight species. The dominant cercariae were those belonging to the Rubenstrema exasperatum (Rudolphi, 1819)/Neoglyphe locellus (Kossack, 1910) species complex, Tylodelphys excavata (Rudolphi, 1803) and Echinostoma spiniferum (La Valette, 1855) sensu Nasincová (1992), all from Planorbarius corneus (Linnaeus). Almost the same spectrum of cercariae of the families Echinostomatidae, Plagiorchiidae and Omphalometridae was found in the present study as in previous reports; however, a considerably lower spectrum of cercariae of the families Diplostomidae and Strigeidae was recorded. The most frequent metacercariae were those of Echinoparyphium aconiatum Dietz, 1909, Neoglyphe locellus and Moliniella anceps (Molin, 1859), all occurring mainly in P. corneus. The most heavily infected snail species was P. corneus, followed by Planorbis planorbis (Linnaeus) and Segmentina nitida (Müller). The widest spectrum of trematode species was found in P. planorbis and P. corneus. Forty-two cercariae identified to the species level belonging to 15 families, plus an additional 43 taxa recorded under generic or provisional names, were reported from 11 species of planorbids in previous studies carried out in Central Europe. However, the actual number of trematode species occurring in the planorbid snails is probably much lower, because many, if not most, larval stages reported under provisional names or unidentified to the species level may be conspecific with identified adult forms. A key to the cercariae and metacercariae recorded from planorbids in Central Europe, together with illustrations of those species encountered most frequently in the field, is provided to facilitate identification.

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