Conference Abstracts

Distribution and habitats of Lymnaea natalensis, snail intermediate host of the liver fluke Fasciola gigantica, in South Africa

Editorial Office
Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie | Vol 20, No 2 | a253 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/satnt.v20i2.253 | © 2001 Editorial Office | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 September 2001 | Published: 28 September 2001

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Editorial Office,, South Africa

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Abstract

This paper focuses on the geographical distribution and the habitats of Lymnaea natalensis, the snail intermediate host of the liver fluke, Fasciola gigantica, as reflected by the collection sites of its 4 552 samples currently on record in the National Freshwater Snail Collection (NFSC) of South Africa. Although this species was represented in a variety of waterbodies, the majority of samples(±70%)came from rivers, brooks and dams and in 70.8% of the cases the water was described as permanent and in 71.8% as slow flowing or standing. The results of life-table studies conducted by various authors indicated that temperature should be a relatively unimportant factor in determining its geographical distribution, but that the availability of permanent water should be decisive for its presence in a given habitat. These results are in agreement with the finding that only 7.5% of the samples of this species in the NFSC were collected in habitats which were described as seasonal. Furthermore, it gives a logical explanation for the sporadic occurrence, or total absence of this species in the more arid regions of South Africa. Water impoundments and irrigation networks contribute to a large extent towards creating perennial habitats which would be suitable for L. natalensis. As intermediate host for one of the liver fluke species which already is an economic factor in South Africa, this certainly is an aspect which ought to be reckoned within the planning and construction of new irrigation schemes.

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