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    Trematodes of the genus Himasthla are usual parasites of coastal birds in nearshore ecosystems of northern European seas and the Atlantic coast of North America. Their first intermediate hosts are marine and brackish-water gastropods, while second intermediate hosts are various invertebrates. We analysed sequences of partial 28S rRNA and nad1 genes and the morphology of intramolluscan stages, particularly cercariae of Himasthla spp. parasitizing intertidal molluscs Littorina spp. in the White Sea, the Barents Sea and coasts of North Norway and Iceland. We showed that only three Himasthla spp. are associated with periwinkles in these regions. Intramolluscan stages of H. elongata were found in Littorina littorea, of H. littorinae, in both L. saxatilis and L. obtusata, and of Cercaria littorinae obtusatae, predominantly, in L. obtusata. Other Himasthla spp. previously reported from Littorina spp. in North Atlantic are either synonymous with one of these species or described erroneously. Based on a comparison of newly generated 28S rDNA sequences with GenBank data, rediae and cercariae of C. littorinae obtusatae were identified as belonging to H. leptosoma. Some previously unknown morphological features of young and mature rediae and cercariae of the three Himasthla spp. are described. We provide a key to the rediae and highlight characters important for identification of cercariae. Genetic diversity within the studied species was only partially determined by their specificity to the molluscan host. The nad1 network constructed for H. leptosoma lacked geographical structure, which is explained by a high gene flow owing to highly vagile definitive hosts, shorebirds.


    Kirill V Galaktionov, Anna I Solovyeva, Alexei Miroliubov. Elucidation of Himasthla leptosoma (Creplin, 1829) Dietz, 1909 (Digenea, Himasthlidae) life cycle with insights into species composition of the north Atlantic Himasthla associated with periwinkles Littorina spp. Parasitology research. 2021 May;120(5):1649-1668

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    PMID: 33712931

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