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Microhabitat preferences of Biomphalaria pfeifferi and Lymnaea natalensis in a natural and a man-made habitat in southeastern Tanzania.

Utzinger, J. and Tanner, M. (2000) Microhabitat preferences of Biomphalaria pfeifferi and Lymnaea natalensis in a natural and a man-made habitat in southeastern Tanzania. Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, 95 (3). pp. 287-294. ISSN 0074-0276

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Abstract

Schistosoma mansoni is an important human parasitic disease which is widespread throughout Africa. As Biomphalaria pfeifferi snails act as intermediate host, knowledge of their population ecology is an essential prerequisite towards understanding disease transmission. We conducted a field study and assessed the density and microhabitat preferences of B.pfeifferi in a natural habitat which was a residual pool of a river. Repeated removal collecting revealed a density of 26.6 [95% confidence interval (CI): 24.9-28.3] snails/m2. B. pfeifferi showed microhabitat preferences for shallow water (depths: 0-4cm). They were found most abundantly close to the shoreline (distances: 0-40cm), and preferred either plant detritus or bedrock as substratum. Lymnaea natalensis, a snail which may act as a host for human Fasciola gigantica, also occurred in this habitat with a density of 34.0 (95% CI: 24.7-43.3) snails/m2, and preferred significantly different microhabitats when compared to B.pfeifferi. Microhabitat selection by these snail species was also investigated in a man-made habitat nearby, which consisted of a flat layer of concrete fixed on the riverbed, covered by algae. Here, B.pfeifferi showed no preference for locations close to the shoreline, probably because the habitat had a uniform depth. We conclude that repeated removal collecting in shallow habitats provides reliable estimates of snail densities and that habitat changes through constructions may create favourable microhabitats and contribute to additional disease transmission.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Biomphalaria, pfeifferi and Lymnaea natalensis, southeastern Tanzania.
Subjects: Biomedical Science > Molecular biology
Divisions: Ifakara Health Institute > Biomedical
Depositing User: Mr Joseph Madata
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2012 21:22
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2012 21:22
URI: http://ihi.eprints.org/id/eprint/267

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