Description and proposed life cycle of Maritrema novaezealandensis n. sp. (Microphallidae) parasitic in red-billed gulls, Larus novaehollandiae scopulinus, from Otago Harbor, South Island, New Zealand.J Parasitol. 2004 Apr; 90(2):272-7.JP
Maritrema novaezealandensis n. sp. is described from Otago Harbor, South Island, New Zealand, on the basis of adult specimens collected from the Red-billed gull, Larus novaehollandiae scopulinus, and excysted metacercariae obtained from crabs. It belongs to the "eroliae group" and differs from other related species mainly in the shape, size, and patterns of distributions of the spines on the cirrus, the shape of the metraterm, the presence of an unlobed ovary, and the complete ring of the vitelline follicles. Based on morphometric features of metacercariae and adult specimens, the trophic relationships among invertebrate and vertebrate hosts, experimental infections, and previous reports of species of Maritrema with similar transmission patterns, the life cycle of M. novaezealandensis n. sp. is described. A 3-host life cycle is proposed for this parasite. The first intermediate host is the mud snail, Zeacumantus subcarinatus, in which the cercarial stage is produced in sporocysts located within the gonad of the snail. At least 3 crab species (Hemigrapsus crenulatus, Macrophtalmus hirtipes, and Halicarcinus whitei) and several species of amphipods act as second intermediate hosts, with metacercariae encysted in the body cavity of the crustacean host. Finally, the definitive host, the gull, L. n. scopulinus, harbors the adult worms in its intestine.