Species of Ribeiroia use planorbid snails as intermediate host. Since there is little information about these digenean parasites in South America, we aimed to assess whether Ribeiroia cercariae from 3 north Argentina locations belonged to the same species and differed from Ribeiroia cercariae described elsewhere. Specimens were obtained from Biomphalaria tenagophila and Biomphalaria orbignyi (Salta Province), and Biomphalaria occidentalis (Corrientes Province). Morphological traits of cercariae were analyzed, as well as their sequence of the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2). The ITS2 region consisted of 426 nucleotides identical in all samples, suggesting that all specimens belong to the same species in spite of their morphological differences and first intermediate host species. Comparison of the ITS2 region with GenBank database records showed that specimens from Argentina were different from Ribeiroia ondatrae (0.9% divergence), Ribeiroia marini (0.7% divergence), and Cercaria lileta (0.2% divergence). In summary, morphological, ecological, and ITS2 molecular data suggest that specimens from Argentina belong to a different species.
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Vol. 101 • No. 5