The effect of cadmium (Cd) exposure on infectivity of cercariae of 2 trematode species (Ornithodiplostomum ptychocheilus and Posthodiplostomum minimum) to their second intermediate fish host was evaluated. Individual fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) were exposed to cercariae that had been treated with Cd solutions at concentrations of 0, 2, 20, or 200 μg/L for 2 hr. Two weeks later, the numbers of encysted metacercariae in the brain (O. ptychocheilus) and body cavity (P. minimum) of the fish were evaluated. ANOVA analyses indicated a strong negative effect of Cd concentration on cercaria infectivity. The species × Cd concentration interaction was not significant, indicating that the magnitude of Cd-induced reduction in infectivity was similar between O. ptychocheilus and P. minimum. The results show that short-term exposure to Cd, even at low concentrations, interferes with transmission processes that affect the recognition and penetration of cercariae, the migration and survival of metacercariae within the second intermediate host, or both.
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