The effects of environmental factors and exudates from the amphipod Corophium volutator on the emergence of Maritrema subdolum cercariae (Digenea: Microphallidae) from the snail Hydrobia ulvae were investigated in the laboratory. Increasing the temperature (15 to 25°C) caused an overall 11-fold increase in emergence rate under varying salinities (24 to 36‰). The effect of salinity depended on the experimental temperature. Emergence increased with increasing salinity at higher temperatures, but decreased with increasing salinity at 15°C.Whereas the different levels of salinity had no effect, increasing the temperature significantly reduced the life span of cercariae. In comparison with complete darkness, light caused a two-fold increase in emergence, whereas an increment of the water pressure from 1.0 to 1.3 ATM (corresponding to 0 and 3 m of depth) left the shedding rate unaffected. Unidentified exudates from the second intermediate host, C. volutator, significantly depressed the cercarial emergence rate. The main transmission window of M. subdolum seems to occur during low water in tidal pools where light levels are high and solar radiation rapidly elevates the water temperature, as well as salinity through evaporation. The consequence of such a transmission strategy is discussed in relation to the impact of M. subdolum on the population dynamics of the second intermediate host.
(Accepted July 26 2002)