EVALUATING HOST SPECIFICITY OF TREMATODE PARASITES FOR THEIR SNAIL HOST, ELIMIA CARINIFERA (COENOGASTROPODA: PLEUROCERIDAE) IN STREAMS IN ALABAMA, USA.
Many snails serve as obligate intermediate hosts to trematode flatworms that infect snails for asexual larval production, often with a high degree of host specificity. Elimia carinifera, inhabits headwater streams in the Cahaba, Coosa, and Black Warrior River basins in Alabama and hosts a variety of trematodes. We determined host specificity by evaluating if worms found in E. carinifera also infected a congener, E. carinocostata, within and among the three basins. The bar coding gene, 18s rDNA, was sequenced for trematodes collected in our study. Sequences of the unknown trematodes found in E. carinifera and E. carinocostata were compared to published trematode sequences in GenBank to identify unknown worms. Six trematode families were recovered (Collyriclidae, Cyathocotylidae, Diplostomatidae, Fasciolidae, Heterophyiidae, and Opisthorchiidae) with percent sequence matches from 95 to 99 percent. Host specificity at the family level did not occur as four out of six families of trematodes were in both snail species in all basins. Further work to identify parasites to species and confirmation that snails from all populations are the same species is required to more accurately determine host specificity of trematodes infecting Elimia carinifera in Alabama streams.
Daniel Wicker (Primary Presenter/Author), Jacksonville State University, firstname.lastname@example.org;