Folia Parasitologica 51[2/3] 153-165 (2004) | DOI: 10.14411/fp.2004.019
Diplostomoid digenean metacercariae have caused widescale mortalities of channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus (Rafinesque), at aquaculture farms in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas, USA. Originally, based on a tentative diagnosis, the industry considered the primary harmful agent to be an introduced species from Europe, Bolbophorus confusus (Krause, 1914), frequently reported from the American white pelican, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos Gmelin. Our group has now shown, using ITS 1-2 plus three more-conservative gene fragments, that two sympatric species of Bolbophorus exist in the American white pelican. One, B. damnificus Overstreet et Curran, 2002, infects the musculature of catfish, and the other, probably not B. confusus, does not infect catfish. However, at least four other pathogenic diplostomoids and a clinostomoid infect the catfish, and they use at least four different snail hosts, including the planorbids Planorbella trivolvis (Say) and Gyraulus parvus (Say), the physid Physella gyrina (Say) and a lymnaeid. Two metacercariae, B. damnificus and Bursacetabulus pelecanus Dronen, Tehrany et Wardle, 1999, infect the catfish and mature in the pelican; two others, Austrodiplostomum compactum (Lutz, 1928) and Hysteromorpha cf. triloba (Rudolphi, 1819), mature in cormorants; one, Diplostomum sp., matures in seagulls and at least one, Clinostomum marginatum (Rudolphi, 1819), matures in herons, egrets and other wading birds. Consequently, management of catfish ponds relative to digenean infections requires considerable biological information on the fish, bird, and snail hosts as well as the parasites.
Received: December 23, 2003; Accepted: March 5, 2004; Published: June 1, 2004