Investigations into the Life Cycle of Drepanocephalus Auritus with Notes on the Discovery of a New Snail Host Biomphalaria Havanensis in Mississippi
Alberson, Neely Rae
AdvisorGriffin, Matthew J.
Khoo, Lester H.
Greenway, Terrence E.
Drepanocephalus auritus is a digenetic trematode parasitizing the double-crested cormorant, a piscivorous waterbird often found feeding on catfish aquaculture ponds in Mississippi. The aquatic snail Planorbella trivolvis was the only known intermediate host in Mississippi until a new snail host, Biomphalaria havanensis, was discovered releasing cercariae belonging to North and South American D. auritus haplotypes. In addition, previous work has reported D. auritus metacercariae begin to resolve in channel catfish 7-21 days post-infection. As a result, a 2-year study was undertaken to elucidate the life cycle of D. auritus and identify if channel catfish can serve as a true intermediate host. In year 1, the role of the channel catfish as a true intermediate host was established, as gravid adults were recovered from double-crested cormorants fed parasitized fish. In year 2, each step of the life cycle was completed, and developmental timelines for each life stage were established.