SELECTION OF THE HOST'S HABITAT BY CERCARIAE: FROM LABORATORY EXPERIMENTS TO THE FIELD

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Abstract

The distribution of cercariae was studied in 18-cm-sized cuvettes under different lighting conditions, in Plexiglas cylinders (80 cm high) vertically placed in a pond, and when swimming freely in a pond. The vertical distribution and the effect of light intensity on it were relatively similar in the cuvettes, in the cylinders, and in the pond. Each of the species (Schistosoma mansoni, Diplostomum spathaceum, Echinostoma caproni, and Pseudechinoparyphium echinatum) showed its individual distribution within the water column, with distinct changes during the time after shedding. We hypothesize that the species-specific distributions in the water reflect behavioral adaptations to increase the chances of encountering the host spectra.

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