Hatching Strategies in Monogenean (Platyhelminth) Parasites that Facilitate Host Infection

Whittington, ID and Kearn, GC (2011) Hatching Strategies in Monogenean (Platyhelminth) Parasites that Facilitate Host Infection. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 51 (1). pp. 91-99. ISSN 1540-7063

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In parasites, environmental cues may influence hatching of eggs and enhance the success of infections. The two major endoparasitic groups of parasitic platyhelminths, cestodes (tapeworms) and digeneans (flukes), typically have high fecundity, infect more than one host species, and transmit trophically. Monogeneans are parasitic flatworms that are among the most host specific of all parasites. Most are ectoparasites with relatively low fecundity and direct life cycles tied to water. They infect a single host species, usually a fish, although some are endoparasites of amphibians and aquatic chelonian reptiles. Monogenean eggs have strong shells and mostly release ciliated larvae, which, against all odds, must find, identify, and infect a suitable specific host. Some monogeneans increase their chances of finding a host by greatly extending the hatching period (possible bet-hedging). Others respond to cues for hatching such as shadows, chemicals, mechanical disturbance, and osmotic changes, most of which may be generated by the host. Hatching may be rhythmical, larvae emerging at times when the host is more vulnerable to invasion, and this may be combined with responses to other environmental cues. Different monogenean species that infect the same host species may adopt different strategies of hatching, indicating that tactics may be more complex than first thought. Control of egg assembly and egg-laying, possibly by host hormones, has permitted colonization of frogs and toads by polystomatid monogeneans. Some monogeneans further improve the chances of infection by attaching eggs to the host or by retaining eggs on, or in, the body of the parasite. The latter adaptation has led ultimately to viviparity in gyrodactylid monogeneans.

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Users 2731 not found.
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2011 11:13
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2011 11:13
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/33180
DOI: 10.1093/icb/icr003


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