Published online by Cambridge University Press: 27 May 2014
Experimental infections of three Egyptian Pseudosuccinea columella populations with sympatric miracidia of Fasciola sp., coming from cattle- or sheep-collected eggs, were carried out to determine the capacity of this lymnaeid to support larval development of the parasite. Using microsatellite markers, the isolates of Egyptian miracidia were identified as Fasciola hepatica. Apart from being independent of snail origin, prevalences ranging from 60.4 to 75.5% in snails infected with five miracidia of F. hepatica were significantly higher than values of 30.4 to 42.2% in snails with bi-miracidial infections. The number of metacercariae ranged from 243 to 472 per cercarial-shedding snail and was independent of snail origin, parasite origin and miracidial dose used for infection. If P. columella was subjected to two successive bi-miracidial infections with F. hepatica, prevalence of infection was 63.3%, with a mean of 311 metacercariae per snail. These values were clearly greater than those already reported for Radix natalensis infected with the same parasite and the same protocol. Successful experimental infection of P. columella with F. hepatica suggests that this lymnaeid snail is an important intermediate host for the transmission of fascioliasis in Egypt.