Xiphidiocercariae from naturally infected Lymnaea columella (Mollusca, Gastropoda) in urban area: morphology and ultrastructure of the larvae and histological changes in the mollusc host

Abstract Urban agriculture is very common in the cities, as Rio de Janeiro and adjacencies, being important as economic activity. However, this practice can create appropriate conditions for establishment and maintenance of life cycle of many parasites. Lymneid snails can act as intermediate hosts of many trematodes species, including those that infect humans and wild and domestic. In the present study, the snail Lymnaea columella was collected from an urban watercress plantations and the morphology of cercariae released by them was analyzed by light and scanning electron microscopy. The specimens were identified as xiphidiocercariae, belonging to the Cercariae Ornatae group, of the order Plagiorchiiformes. Histological examination of the digestive gland of the infected snails revealed the presence of developing sporocysts, with hemocitary infiltration and metaplasia in the epithelial tissue.