Journal of Helminthology

Research Papers

Avian schistosomes in French aquatic birds: a molecular approach

D. Joueta1 c1, H. Fertéa1, C. Holognea1, M.L. Kaltenbacha2 and J. Depaquita1

a1 JE 2533 – USC AFSSA ‘VECPAR’, UFR de Pharmacie, Université de Reims Champagne – Ardenne, 51 rue Cognacq-Jay, 51096 Reims, France

a2 Laboratoire de Pharmacologie, UFR de Pharmacie, Université de Reims Champagne – Ardenne, 51 rue Cognacq-Jay, 51096 Reims, France


The prevalence of human cercarial dermatitis (HCD) caused by bird schistosomes appears to be increasing in France, in light of the impact of tourism combined with high densities of wild aquatic hosts in freshwater areas. The present work expands our knowledge of schistosome systematics by including samples of bird schistosomes collected from their natural hosts in France. Heads (318) and viscera (81) of aquatic birds belonging to 16 species from five orders, collecting during the hunting seasons or found dead, were autopsied for nasal and visceral schistosomes. Eggs and/or adults were analysed by molecular methods using the D2 domain and the second internal transcribed spacer (ITS-2) region of rDNA to determine species. Even if nasal eggs were polymorphic according to the host, all haplotypes were similar to that of Trichobilharzia regenti. Marked diversity of visceral species was observed. Final hosts under natural conditions were reported. For the first time, Trichobilharzia franki is reported in its natural bird hosts, Anas platyrhynchos, Anas crecca, Aythya fuligula and Cygnus olor. We also identified T. szidati in A. crecca and Anas clypeata. Bilharziella polonica was found in six species of aquatic birds, including Grus grus. This finding is the first record of bird schistosomes in this aquatic bird. Three new taxa of visceral schistosomes in Anser anser are strongly suspected according to their haplotypes. Futhermore, a new haplotype of visceral schistosomes isolated in Cygnus olor and similar to Allobilharzia visceralis was identified.

(Accepted February 14 2009)

(Online publication April 15 2009)


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