A lack of comparative studies limits our understanding of interspecific variation in parasite life histories, especially for species that incorporate asexual and resting stages into their life cycles. Ornithodiplostomum ptychocheilus and Posthodiplostomum minimum are sympatric diplostomid trematodes that share the same first (pond snail, Physa gyrina) and second (fathead minnow, Pimephales promelas) intermediate hosts within lakes in Alberta, Canada. Interspecific differences in the body sizes of adults, cercariae, and metacercariae were evaluated from parasites recovered from laboratory-raised chickens, snails, and minnows, respectively. Differences in adult worm fecundity and cercariae production were estimated from chickens and snails exposed to known numbers of parasite larvae. Posthodiplostomum minimum adults, metacercariae, and eggs were 97, 86, and 5% larger than those of O. ptychocheilus, respectively. The average numbers of eggs produced per day by P. minimum was 3 times higher than for O. ptychocheilus, and P. minimum produced approximately twice as many cercariae per day. Although the larger of the 2 species had higher egg and cercariae production, conclusions regarding covariation between adult worm size and the reproductive rates of other life cycle stages require further studies on related species.
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