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Revista Cubana de Medicina Tropical

Print version ISSN 0375-0760On-line version ISSN 1561-3054


VAZQUEZ PERERA, Antonio Alejandro; GONZALEZ COELLO, Carelia; SANCHEZ NODA, Jorge  and  ALBA MENENDEZ, Annia. Distribution and ecological characteristics of freshwater snails of medical importance in Santiago de Cuba province. Rev Cubana Med Trop [online]. 2011, vol.63, n.1, pp.58-63. ISSN 0375-0760.

INTRODUCTION: the ability of freshwater snails to serve as intermediary host of parasites responsible for some tropical diseases is well known. OBJECTIVE: a malacological study was carried out in the Santiago de Cuba province in order to determine the distribution of freshwater snails of medical importance and their relation with the main ecosystems. METHODS: nineteen sites were sampled in the province and the abundance of each of the species was compared to the type of habitat by means of the correspondence analysis. Each site was referred from the geographical viewpoint to determine the distribution patterns. RESULTS: a total amount of 12 freshwater snail species was found and the most abundant were Tarebia granifera, Physa acuta and Pyrgophorus parvulus. Rivers are the main types of ecosystems associated to these species followed by springs and ditches. Fossaria cubensis showed high density in flooded grounds whereas Biomphalaria pallida was the only planorbid species that could coexist with thiarid species. CONCLUSIONS: due to the species found in this province, the likelihood of possible outbreaks of fasciolosis as well as the introduction of schistosomiasis is considered as high.

Keywords : freshwater molluscs; medical malacology; intermediary hosts; ecology.

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