Abstract

Species of Ribeiroia are trematode parasites of birds and mammals that have acquired notoriety since Ribeiroia ondatrae was identified as a cause of mortality and malformations in North American amphibians. Although species of Ribeiroia have been reported in vertebrate hosts in South America, the snails involved in its transmission remain unknown in Brazil. During malacological studies conducted at Pampulha Reservoir, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil, between January 2009 and February 2012, in total 14,264 specimens of Biomphalaria straminea were collected, of which 192 (1.35%) were infected with gymnocephalous cercariae. The larvae were used for experimental infection of laboratory-reared guppies (Poecilia reticulata); metacercariae obtained in these fishes were orally administered to domestic ducks (Cairina moschata); and adult parasites were obtained from the proventriculus 10 days after infection. Based on morphological and molecular analyses, the parasite was identified as Ribeiroia sp., a species morphologically similar to R. ondatrae, but distinctly different at the molecular level. This is the first report of larvae of Ribeiroia in Brazil and B. straminea as a new intermediate host for this genus.

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