Life cycle of Brachylaima mascomai n. sp. (Trematoda: Brachylaimidae), a parasite of rats in the Llobregat delta (Spain).J Parasitol. 2002 Feb; 88(1):124-33.JP
The terrestrial triheteroxenous life cycle of Brachylaima mascomai n. sp. (Trematoda: Brachylaimidae) is elucidated. Operculated, assymetric, embryonated eggs (25.4 x 12.7 microm) are passed with feces of the natural (Rattus norvegicus and R. rattus) and experimental (albino and wild mice, albino rats, Apodemus sylvaticus, Mus spretus [Muridae] and the golden gerbil) definitive hosts and ingested by the helicid gastropod Pseudotachea splendida, the only natural and experimental first intermediate host. Microcaudate cercariae harbored in branched sporocysts in the digestive gland emerge from this snail and contact P. splendida, Otala punctata, Theba pisana, and Helix (C.) aspersa snails developing into unencysted infective metacercariae in the kidney. Definitive hosts are infected by ingestion of infected snails; the adult parasites inhabit the small intestine. Chaetotaxic cercarial pattern specific at acetabular (S(II) 8-10 papillae) and cephalic (C(III) 13-15 papillae, H 16 papillae) levels. Three types of cercarial papillae are observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and their arrangement is correlated with chaetotaxy for the first time in trematodes: argentophilic papillae with fingerlike process (cephalic, body, and acetabular levels), argentophilic papillae with opening (2 papillae in the M body level), and nonargentophilic dome-shaped papillae (alternated with argentophilic S(II) papillae on the ventral sucker). SEM detected interlacing network of ridges covering the metacercarial body. Adults with multidigitate tegumentary spines were observed by SEM. Subequal suckers; the acetabulum located in the posterior part of anterior fifth of body. Vitellaria extend from between middle level and anterior margin of anterior testis to between middle level and posterior margin of acetabulum. Uterus almost reaches the intestinal bifurcation.