Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 April 2014
Experimental infections of Lymnaea glabra (two populations) with Fasciola hepatica were carried out during seven successive snail generations, to determine if prevalence and intensity of snail infection increased over time through descendants of snails already infected with F. hepatica. Controls were descendants coming from uninfected parents and infected according to the same protocol. No larval forms were found in the bodies of control snails coming from uninfected parents. In contrast, prevalence and intensity of F. hepatica infection in snails originating from infected parents progressively increased from the F2 or F3 to the F6 generation of L. glabra. In another experiment carried out with the F7 generations of L. glabra and a single generation of Galba truncatula (as controls), the prevalence of F. hepatica infection and the total number of cercariae were lower in L. glabra (without significant differences between both populations). If the number of cercariae shed by infected snails was compared to overall cercarial production noted in snails containing cercariae but dying without emission, the percentage was greater in G. truncatula (69% instead of 52–54% in L. glabra). Even if most characteristics of F. hepatica infection were lower in L. glabra, prevalence and intensity of parasite infection increased with snail generation when tested snails came from infected parents. This mode of snail infection with F. hepatica suggests an explanation for cases of fasciolosis occurring in cattle-breeding farms where paramphistomosis is lacking and G. truncatula is absent.