Parelaphostrongylus odocoilei is a protostrongylid parasite that has recently been recognized at several locations in sub-Arctic, but not Arctic, North America. We investigated factors that may determine the distribution of P. odocoilei, including suitable gastropod intermediate hosts, temperature requirements for larval development in gastropods, and larval emergence facilitating overwinter transmission. We collected and experimentally infected gastropods from a site in the sub-Arctic where P. odocoilei is at the northern limit of its distribution. Deroceras laeve, Catinella sp., and Euconulus cf fulvus, but not members of the Pupillidae, were suitable intermediate hosts. We describe bionomics of larvae of P. odocoilei in D. laeve and Catinella sp. Infective larvae emerged from all slugs (D. laeve) and 60% of Catinella sp. snails, and emergence from D. laeve was intensity dependent. Emerged infective larvae survived up to 6 mo under conditions approximating that of the subnivean environment. In D. laeve, there was a direct relationship between temperature and development rate of larvae of P. odocoilei. Larvae of P. odocoilei did not develop to infective stage below the theoretical threshold (8.5 C), and required a minimum of 163 degree days to complete development. These developmental parameters can be incorporated into a model to predict larval development in the field. Knowledge of the factors influencing larval bionomics provides the foundation for predicting temporal and spatial patterns of parasite distribution, abundance, and transmission.
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