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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.3 Botucatu  2008 



New reports on parasitism by Haplometroides buccicola (Digenea, Plagiorchiidae) in Brazilian snakes



Santos KRI; Barrella THII; Zica EOPII; Silva RJIII

IGraduate Program in Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Animal Husbandry School, São Paulo State University, UNESP, São Paulo State, Brazil
IIGraduate Program in General and Applied Biology, Botucatu Biosciences Institute, São Paulo State University, UNESP, São Paulo State, Brazil
IIIDepartment of Parasitology, Botucatu Biosciences Institute, São Paulo State University, UNESP, Botucatu, São Paulo State, Brazil

Correspondence to




The occurrence of Haplometroides buccicola (Digenea, Plagiorchiidae) in the esophagus of two Brazilian snakes is reported in the present study. The trematodes were collected from one Micrurus corallinus (Elapidae) and one Phalotris lativittatus (Colubridae); both snakes were found in Botucatu city, São Paulo State, Brazil. Morphological and morphometric analyses of the trematodes are presented. For the first time Micrurus corallinus has been recorded as a host for H. buccicola and this is the second time that P. lativittatus has been reported as a host for this trematode species.

Key Words: Haplometroides buccicola, Plagiorchiidae, Phalotris lativittatus, Micrurus corallinus, snakes.




The current study aimed to report the occurrence of Haplometroides buccicola (Digenea, Plagiorchiidae) in a new host, Micrurus corallinus (Serpentes, Elapidae), and also the second case of infection by this trematode species in Phalotris lativittatus (Serpentes, Colubridae).

The host snakes were captured in the municipality of Botucatu, São Paulo State, and were donated to the Center for the Study of Venoms and Venomous Animals (CEVAP) of São Paulo State University (UNESP). In both snakes trematodes were found in their esophagus. Three helminthes were collected in M. corallinus and nine in P. lativittatus. The trematodes were fixed in AFA (alcohol-formol-acetic acid) under slight pressure of a coverslip for 10 minutes, and then transferred to 70% alcohol for further processing. The specimens were stained with carmine and cleared in creosote.

Morphological and morphometric analyses were accomplished in a computerized imaging system (Qwin Lite 3.1®, Leica, Germany). Measurements for the specimens are reported as the mean and range (minimum-maximum).

The trematodes were deposited in the Reference Helminthological Collection (CHIBB) of the Department of Parasitology, Botucatu Biosciences Institute, UNESP.

The trematodes (Figure 1, Table 1) presented: tegument covered with spines; oral subterminal sucker; prepharynx not evident; muscular pharynx; short and narrow esophagus; slightly sinuous intestinal ceca (distributed until the testicular region); pre-equatorial acetabulum; preacetabular, postbifurcal, submedian genital pore, opening near the right cecal branch; small cirrus pouch positioned behind the acetabulum and presenting an opposed curvature beside the ovary; ovoid testes with irregular contours, in a diagonal, postacetabular and intercecal position; ovoid ovary just behind the acetabulum, with regular contours, pre-testicular, intercecal; a Mehlis' gland located below and on the right ovary portion; a seminal receptacle posterior to the Mehlis' gland; vitellaria consisting of few bunched developed follicles, in a lateral and extracecal position, distributed from the zone slightly anterior to the genital pore to the testicular zone; a well-developed uterus, occupying most of the post-testicular zone; a long and narrow vagina; ovoid, operculated and thick shelled eggs with two small, apical lateral protuberances; terminal excretory pore.





The Haplometroides species found in M. corallinus and P. lativittatus was identified using the identification key proposed by Silva et al. (7). The genus Haplometroides is included in the family Plagiorchiidae (9) and only three snake parasite species have been described for this genus: H. buccicola (2), H. odhneri (4) and H. intercaecalis (7).

Haplometroides buccicola was previously reported in snakes from several South American countries. Odhner (2) found this trematode in a specimen of Micrurus sp. (= Elaps sp.) from Paraguay. After, this helminth species was reported in Micrurus frontalis from Argentina (3) and Brazil (6). Micrurus lemniscatus (4), Leptotyphlops koppesi (8), Phalotris lativittatus (5) and Epicrates cenchria crassus (4) were other hosts recorded in Brazil for H. buccicola.

The present study reports the first case of infection by H. buccicola in M. corallinus. Elapid snakes have been reported as hosts for this trematode (2, 3, 4, 6). However, despite the large geographic distribution of M. corallinus (1), this is the first report on the helminth fauna of this snake in Brazil.

With regard to P. lativittatus, only one case of infection by the trematode exists in the literature. Silva et al. (5) reported the occurrence of H. buccicola in a P. lativittatus specimen deposited in the Herpetological Collection of CEVAP. The trematodes were collected from the mouth and esophagus of the snake, but the helminthes were in inadequate conditions for the morphometric analysis since they were fixed incorrectly inside the snake organs. In the in toto preparations, the worms were bent, crooked or kneaded, which hindered not only the measuring, but also the illustration of the trematodes. The present study is the second report of H. buccicola occurrence in P. lativittatus, thus confirming this species as a host. In this study, the trematodes were processed correctly and the prepared material permitted appropriate illustrations and morphometric analysis, thereby contributing to the knowledge of the species.



1 CAMPBELL JA., LAMAR WW. The venomous reptiles of Latin America. New York: Cornell University Press, 1989. 425p.         [ Links ]

2 ODHNER T. Nordostafrikanische Trematoden grösstenteils vom Weissen Nil (von der Schwedischen Zoologischen Expedition gesammelt). Res. Swed. Zool. Exp. to Egypt and the White Nile, 1911, 4, 1-166.         [ Links ]

3 POUMARAU EMC. Trematodes de ofidios de la Argentina. Rev. Mus. Argent. Cienc. Nat. Bernardino Rivadavia Inst. Nac. Investig. Cienc. Nat. Parasitol., 1968, 1, 1-129.         [ Links ]

4 RUIZ JM., PEREZ MD. Gênero Haplometroides. Redescrição da espécie-tipo e descrição de H. odhneri sp. n. (Trematoda: Plagiorchiidae). An. Fac. Farm. Odontol. Univ. São Paulo, 1959, 16, 87-91.         [ Links ]

5 SILVA RJ., ANDRADE PA., MONTEIRO E SILVA HA., ROSSELLINI M., BARRELLA TH. Report on the occurrence of Haplometroides buccicola (Trematoda, Digenea, Plagiorchiidae) infecting Phalotris lativittatus (Serpentes, Colubridae) in Brazil. J. Venom. Anim. Toxins incl. Trop. Dis., 2005, 11, 373-9.         [ Links ]

6 SILVA RJ., BARRELLA TH. Micrurus frontalis as a new host recorded for Haplometroides odhneri (Trematoda, Digenea, Plagiorchiidae). Rev. Bras. Parasitol. Vet., 2002, 11, 47-8.         [ Links ]

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 ]

8 SILVA RJ., ZICA EOP., CRUZ M., O'REILLY JC., COSTA MC. Occurrence of Haplometroides odhneri (Trematoda, Digenea, Plagiorchiidae) infecting Leptotyphlops koppesi (Serpentes, Leptotyphlopidae). Arq. Bras. Med. Vet. Zootec., 2004, 57, 267-9.         [ Links ]

9 YAMAGUTI S. Synopsis of digenetic trematodes of vertebrates. Tokyo: Keigaku Publishing, 1971. 1074p.         [ Links ]



Correspondence to:
Reinaldo J. Silva
Departamento de Parasitologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Distrito de Rubião Júnior
18618-000, Botucatu, SP, Brasil
Phone: +55 14 38116239. Fax: +55 14 38153744

Received: August 10, 2007
Accepted: December 5, 2007
Abstract published online: December 7, 2007
Full paper published online: August 31, 2008
Conflicts of interest: There is no conflict.

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