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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 17, 2018

Phylogeny and cocoon production in the parasitic leech Myzobdella lugubris Leidy, 1851 (Hirudinidae, Piscicolidae)

  • Naim Saglam , Ralph Saunders , Shirley A. Lang and Daniel H. Shain EMAIL logo
From the journal Acta Parasitologica


Myzobdella lugubris is a commensal leech on crustaceans and a parasite to fishes, surviving predominantly in brackish waters throughout North America. Specimens in this study were collected within the tidal zone of the Delaware River basin (New Jersey and Pennsylvania). To compare regional M. lugubris specimens, defined characters were scored after dorsal and ventral dissections, and phylogenetic relationships were resolved using cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (CO1), 12S ribosomal RNA (rDNA) and 18S rDNA gene fragments. Variance between regional populations was low, suggesting recent dispersal events and/or strong evolutionary constraints. The reproductive biology of M. lugubris was explored by quantitative analysis of secreted cocoons. Specimens produced 32.67 ± 4.50 cocoons with fertilization ratios of 88.1% and hatching times of 48 ± 7 days at 17°C under laboratory conditions. At 22°C, 46 ± 28 cocoons were produced with fertilization ratios of 70.27% and hatching times of 28 ± 5 days. Surprisingly, each cocoon supported only one embryo, which is unusual among oligochaetes.


We thank Leo Sheng of the Extreme Philly Fishing Group for assistance with collections, and Paul Callomon for assistance with specimen deposition at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, PA. Supported by The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) to NS and Busch Biomedical, GAIA and NSF DBI-0216233 grants to DHS.


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Received: 2017-4-6
Revised: 2017-9-19
Accepted: 2017-9-21
Published Online: 2018-1-17
Published in Print: 2018-3-26

© 2018 W. Stefański Institute of Parasitology, PAS

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