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Given the importance of angiostrongyliasis as an emerging infectious disease of humans, companion animals, and wildlife, the current study focused on the transmission dynamics of first- and third-stage larvae of the parasitic nematode, Angiostrongylus cantonensis. The migration of infective larvae and their subsequent distribution within the Lymnaeidae snail, Bullastra lessoni, were investigated over time using microscopic examination of histological sections and fresh tissue. Snails were divided into four anatomical regions: (i) anterior and (ii) posterior cephalopedal masses, (iii) mantle skirt and (iv) visceral mass. The viability of free-swimming third-stage larvae, after their release from snail tissues, was evaluated in vitro by propidium iodide staining and infectivity by in vivo infection of Wistar rats. Snails were sequentially dissected over time to assess the number and anatomical distribution of larvae within each snail and hence infer their migration pathway. Herein, ongoing larval migratory activity was detected over 28 days post-infection. A comparison of infection rates and the larval distribution within the four designated snail regions demonstrated a significant relationship between anatomical region and density of infective larvae, with larvae mostly distributed in the anterior cephalopedal mass (43.6 ± 10.8%) and the mantle skirt (33.0 ± 8.8%). Propidium iodide staining showed that free-swimming third-stage larvae retained viability for between 4 and 8 weeks when stored under laboratory conditions. In contrast to viability, larval infectivity in rats remained for up to 2 weeks only. Knowledge gained from the current work could provide information on the development of new approaches to controlling the transmission of this parasite.
Because knowledge of fungal diversity is very incomplete, it is possible that anthropogenic impacts are driving species to extinction before they have been discovered. Fungal inventories are still incomplete and do not reflect the complete diversity of this large taxon. Whilst molecular advancements are leading to an increased rate of species discovery, there is still much to be done to understand the diversity of fungi, identify rare species and establish conservation goals. Citizen science via social media could play an increasingly important role in mycological research, and its continued development should be supported and encouraged. The involvement of non-professionals in data collection helps increase public awareness, as well as extending the scope and efficiency of fungal surveys. Future academic mycological research could benefit from social media interaction and engagement with the amateur mycological community, which may accelerate the achievement of more effective conservation goals.
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