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Acta Parasitologica, Vol.44, No. 2, 1999, 119-124
Kuzmin Yury I., Miskov Ruslan O. - On the life cycle of Rhabdias elaphe Sharpilo, 1976 (Nematoda, Rhabdiasidae).

Department of Parasitology, I. I Schmalghausen Institute of Zoology, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, 15 B. Khmelnitski Street, Kiev-30, MSP, 252601 Ukraine

Free-living and parasitic larval development of the snake parasite Rhabdias elaphe Sharpilo, 1976 was experimentally studied. The life cycle of the species included homogonic and heterogonic ways of development. Free-living population of R. elaphe consisted of rhabditoid larvae, adult males and females of the free-living generation and infective larvae of both homogonic and heterogonic types. Homogonic stages predominated in the cultures with the average ratio of 10.9:1. In the free-living generation males were more numerous than females (average ratio 2.6:1). Matricidal hatching was not observed in the development of free-living generation's offspring. Homo- and heterogonic infective larvae were similar in morphology.
Juvenile grass snakes (Narix natrix) were experimentally infected per os by R. elaphe infective larvae. Exsheathed third-stage larvae were observed in the body cavity of experimental hosts on the seventh day post infection. Late third-stage larvae and subgravid parasites were obtained from the same site 7 18 days post infection.

KEY WORDS: Rhabdias elaphe, life cycle, homogony, heterogony, free-living and parasitic generations, Elaphe longissima, Natrix natrix
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