DAO 123:81-85 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03086

NOTE
Stunting of the penis in Heleobia parchappii (Mollusca: Cochliopidae) and its relationship with parasitism

Matías J. Merlo*, Manuela Parietti, Jorge A. Etchegoin 

Laboratorio de Parasitología, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata (UNMdP), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Mar del Plata (B7602AYL), Argentina
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Penis anatomy is used to discriminate species of gastropods belonging to the family Cochliopidae; however, this characteristic may be affected by the presence of parasites. To evaluate the possible effect of parasites on penis length and number of papillae in Heleobia parchappii, 195 males were collected from the Nahuel Rucá Lagoon, Argentina. Male snails were only infected by trematode digeneans (total prevalence 45.13%). Three out of 9 species of digeneans registered showed prevalence values higher than 10%: Microphallus szidati, M. simillimus, and Notocotylidae sp. 1. The penis length of non-parasitized males and those parasitized by M. szidati and M. similimus increased with increased snail length; however, this increase was lower in infected snails. In the case of snails infected with Notocotylidae sp. 1, no relationship between shell length and penis length was apparent. Differences in the life cycles of these 3 digeneans could explain the null or lower penis growth rate in relation to host body growth. In contrast, no change was observed in the number of penial papillae of H. parchappii when these snails were infected by larval digeneans compared to those that were not infected. This indicates that penial papillae may be a more stable characteristic than penis length to discriminate between species within the Cochliopidae. The study of penial papillae should be central in the taxonomy and identification of new species within the Cochliopidae, as well as in previously described species.


KEY WORDS: Digenean · Penis morphology · Penial papillae · Microphallus szidati · Microphallus simillimus · Notocotylidae


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Cite this article as: Merlo MJ, Parietti M, Etchegoin JA (2017) Stunting of the penis in Heleobia parchappii (Mollusca: Cochliopidae) and its relationship with parasitism. Dis Aquat Org 123:81-85. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03086

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