The diplostomid flukes, Diplostomum spp., infect fish and cause cataract opacities in the eye lens. The effect of exposure dose on abundance of Diplostomum spp. eye flukes in fish is known, but the effect of the duration of cercariae exposure has not been studied. However, under natural conditions, the temporal window for a successful cercaria attachment on fish is very short and, consequently, differences in infectivity of eye fluke cercariae, in the short-exposure durations of a few seconds, are probably biologically the most meaningful. We investigated infectivity of Diplostomum spp. cercariae originating from snail hosts in 3 lakes (3 Lymnaea stagnalis populations and 1 Radix balthica population) in 6 exposure times, ranging from 5 sec to 15 min, in young-of-the-year Arctic charr Salvelinus alpinus. In addition, we compared the infectivity to the cross-morphology of the cercariae. In the long-exposure duration, i.e., ≥5 min, infectivity of Diplostomum spp. did not vary between the snail host species (L. stagnalis and R. balthica) of the same lake or across the L. stagnalis populations of 3 different lakes. However, in the short-exposure duration, i.e., ≤60 sec, Diplostomum spp. cercariae shed from L. stagnalis had higher infectivity than did cercariae from R. balthica of the same lake. This indicates that that there is an interaction between length of cercariae exposure and origin of Diplostomum spp., and that the duration of exposure may influence the results when fish are experimentally infected. Within a lake, cercariae shed from L. stagnalis were also smaller than cercariae shed from R. balthica.
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