Rodentolepis asymmetrica (Janicki, 1904), is a common hymenolepidid cestode recorded in several vole species (rodents) in the Palearctic. Here, we report a detailed analysis of this species, which includes metrical features and multilocus enzyme electrophoresis. Worms isolated from 4 species of arvicolid hosts in 3 localities in Spain and France from 1994 to 1997 were studied. All the worms used in the morphological study ranged between 1 and 5 individuals per host. Furthermore, all individuals were analyzed electrophoretically. Statistical analysis of metrical features in scolex, sexual segments, and eggs was carried out, and significant differences were detected only in sexual structures of mature segments. These differences were found in worms from each host species in different localities and in the same host species in 2 localities. Multivariate statistical analysis shows correct classification of worms in all cases. Surprisingly, we observed a lack of genetic variability at the 11 enzymatic loci analyzed, which could be explained by 2 nonexclusive hypotheses: (1) a preferential selfing mode of reproduction for these parasites, and (2) a weak effective size of parasite populations.

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