Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 September 2010
Experimental infections of Egyptian Radix natalensis with a French isolate of Fasciola hepatica (each snail was subjected twice to a bimiracidial exposure) were carried out to determine how many sporocysts grew in these snails and to study the developmental patterns of redial generations. Single-sporocyst infections were found in 69.3% (34/49) of infected snails, with equivalent numbers of normal and abnormal patterns. Snails with two- and three-sporocyst infections were 24.4% and 6.1%, respectively. In single- and two-sporocyst infections at days 42 and 56 post-exposure, the total redial burden was significantly higher in snails with a normal redial development. In two- and three-sporocyst infections, the overall maturity of rediae was delayed at days 42 and 56. The high frequency of abnormal patterns in R. natalensis (53.1% of all infected snails showed degeneration of a first mother redia) might be due to incomplete adaptation between the snail population and the parasite. The delayed redial maturity in two- and three-sporocyst infections can mainly be explained by the volume of the snail body, which would be insufficient to allow the simultaneous differentiation of most rediae over time.