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1 August 2012 Exotic Molluscs in the Great Lakes Host Epizootically Important Trematodes
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One of the most significant ecological and economic impacts of exotic species is associated with their role as vectors for the introduction of parasites into invaded areas. Exotic parasites may have devastating impacts on invaded ecosystems; moreover, invaders may also become hosts for aboriginal parasites, promoting native diseases that otherwise would not have emerged. During 2009 and 2010, exotic molluscs were collected from 27 sites in the Lower Great Lakes and their tributaries, the Finger Lakes, and Lake Oneida. Seven species of exotic molluscs were examined for the presence of trematodes, including the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha), quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis), faucet snail (Bithynla tentaculata), European stream valvata (Valvata piscinalis), Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea), Chinese mystery snail (Cipangopaludina chinensis), and the New Zealand mudsnail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum). Most of the examined molluscs were infected with trematode larvae that may be harmful to their subsequent vertebrate hosts, including fish, birds, and mammals. These included Sphaeridiotrema sp. cercariae and Cyathocotyle bushiensis metacercariae from B. tentaculata, Echinostoma sp. cercariae from V. piscinalis, and echinostomatid metacercariae from Dreissena spp. and C. fluminea. Many exotic molluscs that were believed to be free of parasites have already acquired trematodes native to North America. Hotspots of trematode infections were recorded in the western basin of Lake Erie and in Lake Oneida, where several species of exotic molluscs had a high prevalence of trematodes, and thus potentially pose risk of transmission to definitive hosts.

Alexander Y. Karatayev, Sergey E. Mastitsky, Lyubov E. Burlakova, Vadim A. Karatayev, Marissa M. Hajduk, and David Bruce Conn "Exotic Molluscs in the Great Lakes Host Epizootically Important Trematodes," Journal of Shellfish Research 31(3), 885-894, (1 August 2012).
Published: 1 August 2012

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