Interspecific stimulation of parthenogenesis in Schistosoma intercalatum and S. mansoni


Experimental studies of mating behaviour of Schistosoma intercalatum and Schistosoma mansoni in mixed infections in mice showed that in simultaneous infections, without the possibility of choice of mate, heterologous pairing occurs readily. The paired females reach sexual maturity, are inseminated and lay parthenogenetic eggs. Miracidia originating from the S. mansoni male × S. intercalatum female are non infective to either Biomphalaria glabrata or Bulinus forskalii, whereas those from the reverse cross show a very low infectivity to only B. glabrata. The resulting haploid male cercariae also show a very low infectivity to mice (1.1%) and consequently only a very small number of adult worms develop. It appears from this study, on chromosomal and electrophoretic evidence, that generative (haploid) parthenogenesis occurs in S. mansoni females paired with S. intercalatum males.