Diversity of Biomphalaria spp. freshwater snails and associated mollusks in areas with schistosomiasis risk, using molecular and spatial analysis tools

Abstract: The Middle Paranapanema River region of São Paulo, Brazil is home to significant diversity of Biomphalaria species and is very vulnerable to health and environmental impacts such as schistosomiasis. This study updates freshwater malacological surveys for ecosystems in one portion of the Middle Paranapanema River Basin, with emphasis on the genus Biomphalaria. Snails were collected from 114 distinct bodies of water between 2015 and 2018. Biomphalaria specimens were identified according to morphological and molecular characteristics, while animals in other genera (Drepanotrema, Lymnaea, Melanoides, Physa and Pomacea) were identified solely according to shell characteristics. A geographic information system was used to update intermediate host colonization sites and consequently assist in identifying probable hotspots for intermediate hosts of schistosomiasis. The sequences of the COI gene relating to the DNA barcode stretch were tested for similarity against sequences found in GenBank, for monophyly through Maximum Likelihood phylogenetic inference, and analyzed in ABDG, bPTP and GMYC for the delimitation of putative species. Of the 10,722 snails collected, 86.7% were in the Planorbidae family (75.5% Biomphalaria and 11.2% Drepanotrema) and 13.3% were other non-Planorbidae species (Lymnaea, Melanoides, Physa and Pomacea). The taxonomic COI reference sequences in the NCBI nucleotide database used for DNA sequence comparison, and phylogenetic analysis used to test the monophyly of the groups, resulted in more reliable taxonomic units than delimitation of the COI sequences in MOTUs using statistical taxonomic models. Analysis of the species distribution shows that B. glabrata and B. tenagophila are heterogeneously distributed in the study area. B. glabrata colonizes only five water bodies, in the study area, most of them in Ourinhos, while B. tenagophila predominates in water bodies in Ipaussu. Contrasting with this, B. straminea, B. occidentalis and B. peregrina are evenly distributed throughout the study area.