To estimate isotopic changes caused by trematode parasites within a host, we investigated changes in the carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios of the freshwater snail Lymnaea stagnalis infected by trematode larvae. We measured carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes within the foot, gonad, and hepatopancreas of both infected and uninfected snails. There was no significant difference in the δ13C and δ15N values of foot and gonad between infected and uninfected snails; thus, trematode parasite infections may not cause changes in snail diets. However, in the hepatopancreas, δ15N values were significantly higher in infected than in uninfected snails. The 15N enrichment in the hepatopancreas of infected snails is caused by the higher 15N ratio in parasite tissues. Using an isotope-mixing model, we roughly estimated that the parasites in the hepatopancreas represented from 0.8 to 3.4% of the total snail biomass, including the shell.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics