Molluscan ResearchISSN 1323-5818
 An international journal of the Malacological Society of Australasia and 
the Society for the Study of Molluscan Diversity published by Magnolia Press

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Molluscan Research 30(2): 102-108; published 30 Jul. 2010
Copyright © The Malacological Society of Australasia & the Society for the Study of Molluscan Diversity

Effects of low temperature on the schistosome-transmitting snail Oncomelania hupensis and the implications of global climate change

YI-BIAO ZHOU1,2, JIAN-LIN ZHUANG2, MEI-XIA YANG3, ZHI-JIE ZHANG1, JIAN-GUO WEI 1, WEN-XIANG PENG1, GEN-MING ZHAO1, SI-MING ZHANG4 & QING-WU JIANG1,2*

1Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Fudan University, Yixueyuan Road 138, 200032, Shanghai, China

2Key Laboratory of Public Health Safety, Ministry of Education (Fudan University), Yixueyuan Road 138, 200032, Shanghai, China

3Xuhui Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Jianguoxi Road 357, 200003, Shanghai, China

4 Center for Evolutionary and Theoretical Immunology, Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA

*Corresponding author: Email: jiangqw@fudan.edu.cn

Abstract

The impact of climate change on schistosomiasis transmission has attracted considerable attention in recent years. As the intermediate hosts for schistosomes, snails play an obligatory role in schistosomiasis transmission. In order to determine the impact of low temperature on snail survival, we studied crystallization temperature (Tc) and lower lethal temperature (LLT) of the snail Oncomelania hupensis, the intermediate host of human blood fluke Schistosoma japonicum, under different physiological conditions. The mean Tc of dry snails was -12.79 1.17C, which is significantly lower than that of wet snails (-5.36 2.11C). Survival of dry snails was high (92% after 24 h) when the temperature was higher than -7C, then decreased rapidly between -7C and -12C (92% to 0 % after 24h). LT50 between 0.25 h and 24 h exposure was between -10.8 C and -9.4C. Our data suggest that O. hupensis out of water could be avoiding freezing. As winter temperatures continue to rise due to global warming, O. hupensis may increase its range, thereby spreading schistosomiasis to the northern part of China.

Key words: Schistosoma japonicum, Schistosomiasis, Low thermal tolerance, Cold hardiness, Supercooling, Crystallization

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