Laboratory of Helminthology

Morphology, including ultrastructure, systematics and phylogeny of tapeworms (Cestoda), especially groups parasitic in freshwater and marine fish, and ecology and life-cycles of trematodes (Digenea), with focus on communities of larval stages in freshwater molluscs.

Current research projects

Systematics of basal tapeworms

Several groups of presumably the most basal groups of “true” tapeworms (Eucestoda) have been revised based on morphological, ultrastructural (scanning electron microscopy) and molecular (DNA sequencing) evaluation of newly collected or museum materials. Revision of the newly erected order Bothriocephalidea, which consists of 46 genera (four genera proposed as new), was carried out and a review of the human fish tapeworm, Diphyllobothrium, was prepared. A comparative study of the scoleces of the monozoic order Caryophyllidea, parasites of freshwater fish in the Palaearctic Region made it possible to prepare a key to identification of all species based on their scolex morphology.

Ultrastructure of basal tapeworms

Using combination of scanning and transmission electron microscopy, unique surface structures, called microtriches, have been studied in primitive groups of tapeworms (Cestoda). A very low diversity of microtriches represented only by filitriches exists in the most basal groups (Gyrocotylidea, Caryophyllidea, Spathebothriidea and Diphyllobothriidea) whereas filitriches and spinitriches are present in Bothriocephalidea. New ultrastructural data enables us to summarise all existing information to be used in future comparative analyses and phylogenetic studies; this may help considerably in unravelling still unclear evolutionary history of tapeworms (Cestoda).

Ecology and systematics of trematodes (Digenea)

The first comprehensive study on the spatiotemporal structure of trematode communities in the freshwater snail Valvata macrostoma was carried out at shallow and offshore habitats in the Lake Konnevesi (Finland). Our results show that generally well-described spatiotemporal differences in trematode infection of molluscs can emerge in very narrow spatial and temporal scales, which emphasizes the importance of these factors in community studies. The taxonomic framework of the Haploporidae was evaluated and the relationships within the Haploporinae are assessed for the first time at the generic level using molecular data.

CONTACT

Biology Centre CAS
Institute of Parasitology
Branišovská 1160/31
370 05 České Budějovice

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