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Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases

On-line version ISSN 1678-9199

J. Venom. Anim. Toxins incl. Trop. Dis vol.14 no.1 Botucatu  2008 



New record of Haplometroides intercaecalis (Digenea, Plagiorchiidae) infecting a Brazilian snake



Silva R. J.I; Béda A. F.II; Ferreira V. L.III

IDepartment of Parasitology, Botucatu Institute of Biosciences, São Paulo State University–UNESP, Botucatu, São Paulo State, Brazil
IIDepartment of Biosciences, Aquidauana Campus, Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Aquidauana, Mato Grosso do Sul State, Brazil
IIIDepartment of Environmental Sciences, Corumbá Campus, Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Corumbá, Mato Grosso do Sul State, Brazil

Correspondence to




Phalotris matogrossensis (Serpentes, Colubridae) was reported as a new host for Haplometroides intercaecalis (Digenea, Plagiorchiidae). The host snake was obtained from the municipality of Anastácio, state of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. One specimen of H. intercaecalis was recovered from the esophagus of the host and identified by the intercecal position of the vitellaria in the pre-acetabular region. This paper describes the second report of the occurrence of this trematode in fossorial snakes of the genus Phalotris in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil.

Key words: Digenea, Haplometroides intercaecalis, Plagiorchiidae, Phalotris matogrossensis, Colubridae, new host.



Species of the genus Haplometroides parasitize snakes and amphisbaenians in South America; currently, only three species are included in this genus: H. buccicola, H. odhneri and H. intercaecalis (7). The aim of this study is to report a new host species for H. intercaecalis.

The host snake, an adult male Phalotris matogrossensis, measuring 430mm in snout-vent length and 45mm in tail length, was collected on November 11, 1992, in the municipality of Anastácio, Mato Grosso do Sul State, Brazil. This snake is deposited in the Zoology Collection - Professor Arlindo de Figueiredo Béda [Coleção Zoológica - Professor Arlindo de Figueiredo Béda] (collection number = AFB 749), of the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Aquidauana, Mato Grosso do Sul State, Brazil. The necropsy of the host revealed only one specimen of Digenea in the esophagus. The parasite was collected and transferred to 70% alcohol and stained with carmine, clarified with creosote, and analyzed with a computerized system for image analysis (Qwin Lite 3.1, Leica). The Digenea was deposited in the Reference Helminthological Collection [Coleção Helmintológica de Referência] (CHIBB 2367) of the Department of Parasitology, Botucatu Institute of Biosciences, São Paulo State University (UNESP), municipality of Botucatu, São Paulo State, Brazil.

The body of Haplometroides intercaecalis (Figure 1) is elongated, flattened, 4371.3µm long and 553.3µm wide, and is covered with spines. The oral sucker is subterminal, 314.1µm long and 271.6µm wide. A prepharynx was not observed. The pharynx is muscular, short, subspherical, 151µm long and 120.4µm wide. The esophagus is long, narrow, 511.4µm long and 28.3µm wide. Intestinal ceca are bifurcated, slightly sinuous and unequal, with smooth walls, terminating at the posterior region of the testis, about 1360.4µm from the posterior end. The acetabulum is pre-equatorial, muscular, 212.1µm long and 198.6µm wide. The genital pore is pre-acetabular, postbifurcal, submedian, and opens near the right cecal branch. The cirrus pouch is pre-acetabular, small, with an opposed curvature beside the ovary, presenting a seminal vesicle and elongated cirrus. Testes are ovoid, pos-ovarian, intercecal, with regular contours, in a diagonal position. The anterior testis is 134.1µm long and 185.4µm wide and the posterior is 175.4µm long and 187µm wide. The ovary is pos-acetabular, ovoid, with regular contours, intercecal, 138.3µm long and 170.5µm wide. The Mehlis' gland is median, located below and to the right of the ovary. The seminal receptacle is elongated, submedian, and placed near the ovary and Mehlis' gland, 162.7µm long and 51.6µm wide. The vitellaria consist of numerous follicles in a bunch shape, distributed from the zone slightly posterior to the cecal bifurcation to the posterior testis zone. In the pre-acetabular region, the vitellaria are intercecal and extracecal and only extracecal in the testicular region. The Laurer's channel was not observed. The uterus is well-developed, occupying most of the post-testicular region, with branches reaching the acetabular region. Metraterm is long and narrow. Eggs are ovoid, operculated, with a thick shell, and with two small, apical and lateral expansions, 51.9µm long and 36.2µm wide. An excretory vesicle was not observed. The excretory pore is terminal, at the middle line of the posterior end.



The genus Haplometroides presents three species: H. buccicola, H. odhneri and H. intercaecalis (7). Haplometroides odhneri has been described in Micrurus lemniscatus in Brazil (4) and later reported in Micrurus frontalis (6) and Leptotyphlops koppesi (8). These specimens were reviewed by Silva et al. (5), who verified that the species reported from M. lemniscatus and from L. koppesi was H. buccicola. Until now, M. frontalis from São Paulo State, Brazil, represented the only record for H. odhneri.

Haplometroides buccicola was originally described in Paraguay from Micrurus sp. (2, 9). Posteriorly, it was reported in the elapids M. frontalis and M. coralinus from Brazil (1, 6), the leptotyphlopid L. koppesi (8), the colubrid Phalotris lativittatus (1, 5), the boid Epicrates cenchria crassus (4) and the amphisbaenian Amphisbaena alba (4), also all from Brazil. Haplometroides buccicola was also reported in M. frontalis in Argentina (3).

Haplometroides intercaecalis has been reported only in Phalotris nasutus from the municipality of Corumbá, Mato Grosso do Sul State, Brazil (7). The present paper reports a new host for H. intercaecalis and confirms the occurrence of this trematode in fossorial snakes of the genus Phalotris in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil.



We would like to thank the State of São Paulo Research Foundation [Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo – FAPESP] (04/03628-1) for the financial support.




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7 SILVA RJ., FERREIRA VL., STRÜSSMANN C. New species of Haplometroides (Digenea, Plagiorchiidae) from Phalotris nasutus (Gomes, 1915) (Serpentes, Colubridae). J. Parasitol., 2007, 93, 917-21.         [ Links ]

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9 YAMAGUTI S. Synopsis of digenetic trematodes of vertebrates. Tokyo: Keigaku Publishing, 1971. 2v.         [ Links ]



Correspondence to:
Reinaldo José da Silva
Departamento de Parasitologia
Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Estadual Paulista
UNESP, Distrito de Rubião Júnior
18618-000, Botucatu, São Paulo, Brasil
Phone: +55 14 3811 6239. Fax: +55 14 3815 3744

Received: May 17, 2007
Accepted: August 23, 2007
Abstract published online: September 21, 2007
Full paper published online: March 8, 2008
Conflicts of interest: There is no conflict

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