Indexed on: 01 Feb '03Published on: 01 Feb '03Published in: Hydrobiologia
The structure of gastropod communities was examined from January to June 1999 in four sites of the streams of Mont Saint-Michel Bay along a gradient of salinity, and the occurrence of larval trematodes infecting snails was studied. Abundance and species richness of gastropods increased from polyhaline (95 snails, 1 species) to oligohaline waters (6672 snails, 6 species). Whatever the salinity, the most abundant species was Potamopyrgus antipodarum, an invasive non-indigenous species that represented 80% of the gastropods. Only one male was found in P. antipodarum populations suggesting a predominantly parthenogenetic mode of reproduction. Among 7218 gastropods collected, 1.2% were infected by larval trematodes: 5 species in Lymnaea peregra (4.4%), 4 species in Planorbis planorbis (12.0%), one echinostome in Physa acuta (0.2%), and a new species of Sanguinicola in P. antipodarum (0.5%). This is the first record of infected P. antipodarum in Europe. No parasites were found in polyhaline waters. The prevalence per host population varied from 0 to 100% depending on time of collection, salinity and host species. In the lowest-salinity site, abundance of gastropods and prevalence of trematodes were negatively correlated. The dominance of P. antipodarum in the gastropod communities is discussed in relation with euryhalinity, parthenogenesis and weak rate of parasitism.