Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 June 2008
Experimental infections of Galba truncatula with Paramphistomum daubneyi were carried out at 24°C to study the dynamics of larval development in snails dissected at regular intervals and to determine if metacercarial production might be improved. When the shell height of snails (4, 5, 6 or 7 mm) at exposure increased (experiment A), the total number of metacercariae was significantly higher in the 6- and 7-mm snails than in the other two groups, and the differentiation period was shortened (the first cercariae encysted at day 35 post-exposure (p.e.) instead of day 40 in the 4- and 5-mm groups). When the number of miracidia (two, three or five) for each 6-mm high G. truncatula increased (experiment B), a significant decrease of snail survival at day 30 p.e., a significant augmentation of prevalence, and a significant increase of metacercarial production were noted. In the two- and three-miracidium groups, the number of metacercariae was close to that found in the 6-mm snails from experiment 1, whereas they showed slower growth from day 45 to day 65 in the five-miracidium group. In the two groups of lambs infected with metacercariae encysted at days 45 or 60 p.e., no difference in the numbers of adult worms was noted. In contrast, in the case of 35-day encysted larvae, the number of adult worms was clearly lower. Snail dissection allowed higher metacercarial production, a saving of 12–15 days at 24°C to obtain these larvae, and a substantial decrease of their cost price for commercial production.