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Euhaplorchis californiensis Cercariae Exhibit Positive Phototaxis and Negative Geotaxis

TitleEuhaplorchis californiensis Cercariae Exhibit Positive Phototaxis and Negative Geotaxis
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsWeinersmith K.L, Brown C.E, Clingen K.B, Jacobsen M.C, Topper L.B, Hechinger R.F
JournalJournal of Parasitology
Date Published2018/06
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0022-3395
Accession NumberWOS:000435478700021
Keywordsbehaviors; host; infectivity; longevity; marine cercariae; parasites; Parasitology; patterns

Parasites often use external cues to identify and move toward environments where they are likely to encounter suitable hosts. The trematode parasite Euhaplorchis californiensis produces cercariae that emerge from California horn snails (Cerithideopsis californica [= Cerithidea californica]) to infect California killifish (Fundulus parvipinnis) as second intermediate hosts. Based upon work on a congeneric Euhaplorchis species from Florida, and based on the ecology of its killifish host, we hypothesized that E. californiensis cercariae in southern California estuaries are positively phototactic and negatively geotactic, using both sunlight and gravity to guide their movement to the upper water column. To distinguish positive phototaxis from negative geotaxis, we first quantified E. californiensis movement in response to light along a horizontal plane and determined they were positively phototactic. In a second experiment, we quantified E. californiensis movement along a vertical plane in response to an overhead light, a light from below, or no light. We found that E. californiensis exhibit negative geotaxis in the absence of light, but will swim in the direction of gravity to move toward a light source from below. Thus, E. californiensis are both positively phototactic and negatively geotactic, but cercariae prioritize phototactic cues. These results suggest that E. californiensis cercariae aggregate in the open water, indicating that the pelagic zone represents an area of high infection risk for California killifish hosts.

Short TitleJ. Parasitol.
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