Abstract:

Circadian egg production by Echinostoma caproni was investigated in ICR mice. Four female mice were infected with 25 E. caproni metacercariae, maintained in individual cages on a 12:12 light:dark cycle, and provided food and water ad libitum. Twenty-eight, 51, and 58 days post-infection, mice were transferred to individual, wire-bottomed cages and feces were collected every 2 hr for 24 hr. The feces were weighed and processed immediately to estimate the number of eggs present. Fecal output and egg production were standardized to unit maxima for analysis. Standardized egg count and standardized fecal output followed distinctly circadian patterns and covaried. Egg production was highest from 2200 to 0200 hr and lowest from 1000 to 1800 hr. These correspond to the highest and lowest fecal production, and highest and lowest periods of host activity, respectively. Egg density (eggs/g of feces) covaried weakly with fecal output with an additional peak at 0800–1000 hr, suggesting E. caproni is responding to changes in host physiology in timing of the production and release of eggs into the intestine. The continuous production and release of eggs during the patent period, coupled with the circadian pattern of daily egg release by E. caproni, would result in the widest dispersal of eggs in the host environment and enhance transmission to the first intermediate host.

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