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Brachylaima cribbi (Digenea: Brachylaimidae): scanning electron microscopical observations of the life-cycle stages

  • A.R. Butcher (a1), J.K. Brealey (a2), D.I. Grove (a1) and R.B. Dymock (a2)


Brachylaima cribbi is a recently described species of terrestrial trematode that infects mammals and birds with helicid land snails as its first and second intermediate hosts. The adult worm is 2.5–6.0 mm long by 0.5–0.8 mm wide being a long slender cylindrical worm with oral and ventral suckers in the anterior quarter and genital pore in the posterior quarter. Scanning electron microscopy shows that there is a dense covering of tegumental spines at the anterior end which diminishes towards the posterior extremities of the worm. Development of spines was observed in juvenile and mature adult worms. In young worms 1–3 weeks post infection (wpi) spines appear as buds with a serrated edge each having 1–4 spikes per spine. As the worm ages the spines broaden and by 5 wpi the number of spikes per spine increases to an average of 8.1. The serial development of oral sucker papillae in the cercaria, metacercaria and adult worm was observed with the finding of an elongated papilla with a bifurcated tip on the cercaria becoming a shorter and thicker elongated papilla with a large central stoma on the metacercaria. In the adult worm, this papilla becomes dome-shaped with a small central stoma. For some of these papillae a cilium could be seen extended from the central stoma. Other life-cycle stages illustrated were the hatched egg with an extruded egg membrane minus an operculum and a portion of the branched sporocyst dissected from the digestive gland of the land snail Theba pisana showing a terminal birth pore. Scanning electron microscopy morphological features of the adult worm observed for the first time in a Brachylaima were the unarmed cirrus extended from the genital pore with released sperm present and the Laurer's canal opening visible in tegumental folds on the dorsal surface approximately 300 μm posterior to the genital pore.


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Brachylaima cribbi (Digenea: Brachylaimidae): scanning electron microscopical observations of the life-cycle stages

  • A.R. Butcher (a1), J.K. Brealey (a2), D.I. Grove (a1) and R.B. Dymock (a2)


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