Cryptic Species Analysis of Austrobilharzia variglandis and Mesostephanus appendiculatus in the Salt Marsh Gastropod, Cerithidea pliculosa, in Galveston Bay
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Parasites, in particular trematodes (Platyhelminthes: Digenea), play major roles in the population dynamics and community structure of invertebrates on soft-sediment mudflats (Leung, 2009). Austrobilharzia variglandis and Mesostephanus appendiculatus are two species of trematodes that are known to infect the plicate horn snail, Cerithidia pliculosa, as their first intermediate host in Galveston Bay. We extracted the larvae of these two species from C. pliculosa collected in a Galveston marsh off Sportsman’s Road, and through use of molecular genetic techniques and assessment of genetic diversity, we plan to reveal cryptic species complexes present in these trematodes. This study will help in quantifying the true trematode biodiversity of Galveston Bay by isolating multiple lineages of a single morphotype; and also hopefully help in understanding any implications these trematode lineages impose on their hosts. If successful, this study will reveal data, which will further expand on cryptic speciation within two of the trematodes known to infect humans.
Perrigo, Daniela Camille (2015). Cryptic Species Analysis of Austrobilharzia variglandis and Mesostephanus appendiculatus in the Salt Marsh Gastropod, Cerithidea pliculosa, in Galveston Bay. Honors and Undergraduate Research. Available electronically from