oa African Zoology - The prevalence of Proctoeces (Trematoda: Fellodistomidae) metacercarial infections in the brown mussel Perna perna (Bivalvia: Mytilidae) around the southern African coast

Volume 24, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



Unencysted trematode metacercariae of the genus Proctoeces were found embedded in the mantle tissue and visceral mass of the intertidal mussel Perna perna. Data on the prevalence and intensity of infection in southern African populations of Perna are presented. Results from a geographic survey indicated that Proctoeces infections were more prevalent in the region Port Elizabeth to Isilaka. At the majority of sites both prevalence and intensity of infection increased in conjunction with host size. Detailed studies of mussels from Dwesa failed to show seasonal changes in metacercarial infection. A strong relationship, however, was found between sex of host and parasitic infection, with female mussels harbouring the most metacercariae. The most heavily infected mussels examined came, ironically, from two nature reserves situated on a stretch of coastline where otherwise unprotected mussel stocks are subjected to intense exploitation by man. The possible pathogenic effects of Proctoeces on such highly stressed mussel populations clearly merits further attention.

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