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Development of the feline lungworms Aelurostrongylus abstrusus and Troglostrongylus brevior in Helix aspersa snails

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2013

Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Bari, Valenzano, Bari, Italy
Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Bari, Valenzano, Bari, Italy
Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Bari, Valenzano, Bari, Italy
Facoltà di Medicina Veterinaria, Università di Teramo, Teramo, Italy
Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Bari, Valenzano, Bari, Italy
Dipartimento di Scienze Veterinarie, Università degli Studi di Messina, Polo Universitario Annunziata, Messina, Italy
Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Bari, Valenzano, Bari, Italy Departamento de Imunologia, Centro de Pesquisas Aggeu Magalhães (Fiocruz-PE), Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil
Institut po Bioraznoobrazie i Ekosistemni Izsledvaniya, Bŭlgarska Akademiya na Naukite, Sofiya, Bulgaria
Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Bari, Valenzano, Bari, Italy
*Corresponding author: Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Bari, Valenzano, Bari, Italy. E-mail:


Aelurostrongylus abstrusus (Strongylida, Angiostrongylidae) and Troglostrongylus brevior (Strongylida, Crenosomatidae) are regarded as important lungworm species of domestic felids, with the latter considered an emerging threat in the Mediterranean region. The present study aimed to assess their concurrent development in the mollusc Helix aspersa (Pulmonata, Helicidae). Thirty snails were infested with 100 first-stage larvae (L1) of A. abstrusus and T. brevior, isolated from a naturally infested kitten. Larval development was checked by digesting five specimens at 2, 6 and 11 days post infestation. Larvae retrieved were morphologically described and their identification was confirmed by specific PCR and sequencing. All H. aspersa snails were positive for A. abstrusus and T. brevior, whose larval stages were simultaneously detected at each time point. In addition, snails were exposed to outdoor conditions and examined after overwintering, testing positive up to 120 days post infestation. Data herein presented suggest that A. abstrusus and T. brevior develop in H. aspersa snails and may eventually co-infest cats. Data on the morphology of both parasitic species in H. aspersa provide additional information on their development and identification, to better understand the population dynamics of these lungworms in receptive snails and paratenic hosts.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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