Effects of trematode double infection on the shell size and distribution of snail hosts

Osamu Miura, Satoshi Chiba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Infection with larval trematodes sometimes alters the phenotypes of their snail hosts. While some trematode species have distinct effects on host phenotypes, it is still unclear how snail phenotypes are altered when they are parasitized with multiple trematode species. Here, we report that double infection with trematode species averages the effects of parasitic alteration on host phenotype. We found that snail hosts Batillaria attramentaria (Batillariidae) infected with Cercaria batillariae (Heterophyidae) have abnormally large shells and distribute in lower areas of the intertidal zone. Snails with another dominant trematode species, the renicolid cercaria I (Renicolidae), have slightly larger shells and distribute in upper areas of the intertidal zone. A number of double infections with both trematodes was observed in this study. Snails infected with both trematode species exhibited an intermediate size and inhabited a depth between those of snails solely infected with either trematode species, suggesting that the two trematodes simultaneously affected the snail phenotypes. Because altered host phenotypes are frequently beneficial to parasites, two trematode species may compete for successful transmission through alteration of host phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-22
Number of pages4
JournalParasitology International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Mar


  • Behavioural modification
  • Double infection
  • Gigantism
  • Trematodes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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