Morphological and molecular studies on life cycle stages of Diphtherostomum brusinae (Digenea: Zoogonidae) from northern Portugal.J Helminthol. 2009 Dec; 83(4):321-31.JH
Diphtherostomum brusinae was first recorded by the present study in the north of Portugal. Sporocysts, containing cercariae and encysted metacercariae, were observed in the gonads and digestive gland of the gastropod Nassarius reticulatus. Metacercariae were also found infecting the foot, mantle border and gills of the cockle Cerastoderma edule. The adult form was lodged in the rectum of the definitive host Diplodus sargus. The morphology of the three parasitic stages was studied by light (LM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Despite the close similarity between cercaria and metacercaria, SEM data provided information that allowed their differentiation, namely the presence of a dense crown of microvilli around the oral cavity of the cercariae, which was absent in the metacercariae. In addition, the metacercariae presented a specific pre-acetabular rectangular band with conspicuous triangular spines. The adult showed characteristics of D. brusinae species, in particular the presence of acetabular lips, compact vitellaria and large elliptical eggs. Sequenced ITS1 data clearly demonstrated that the cercariae and metacercarial cysts from N. reticulatus, the cysts from C. edule and the adult isolated from D. sargus were life cycle stages that belonged to the same species, i.e. D. brusinae. Two transmission strategies in the life cycle of this species were observed: (1) cercariae encyst within the sporocysts of N. reticulatus and await ingestion by the definitive host; and (2) N. reticulatus naturally emits cercariae; they encyst in C. edule or the environment and are ingested by the definitive host.