Complex societies where individuals exhibit division of labor with physical polymorphism, behavioral specialization, and caste formation have evolved several times throughout the animal kingdom. Recently, such complex sociality has been recognized in digenean trematodes; evidence is limited to 6 marine species. Hence, the extent to which a soldier caste is present throughout the Trematoda is sparsely documented, and there are no studies detailing the structure of a species lacking such a social structure. Here we examine colony structure for an additional 5 echinostomoid species, 4 of which infect the marine snail Cerithidea californica and 1 (Echinostoma liei) that infects the freshwater snail Biomphalaria glabrata. For all species, we present redia morphology (pharynx and body size) and the distribution of individuals of different castes throughout the snail body. When morphological evidence indicated the presence of a soldier caste, we assessed behavior by measuring attack rates of the different morphs toward heterospecific trematodes. Our findings indicate that each of the 4 species from C. californica have a permanent soldier caste while E. liei does not. The observed intra- and inter-specific variation of caste structure for those species with soldiers, and the documentation of colony structure for a species explicitly lacking permanent soldiers, emphasizes the diverse nature of trematode sociality and the promise of the group to permit comparative investigations of the evolution and ecology of sociality.
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Vol. 102 • No. 1