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Trematodes in snails near raccoon latrines suggest a final host role for this mammal in California Salt Marshes

January 1, 2005

Of the 18 trematode species that use the horn snail, Cerithidea californica, as a first intermediate host, 6 have the potential to use raccoons as a final host. The presence of raccoon latrines in Carpinteria Salt Marsh, California, allowed us to investigate associations between raccoons and trematodes in snails. Two trematode species, Probolocoryphe uca and Stictodora hancocki, occurred at higher prevalences in snails near raccoon latrines than in snails away from latrines, suggesting that raccoons may serve as final hosts for these species. Fecal remains indicated that raccoons fed on shore crabs, the second intermediate host for P. uca, and fish, the second intermediate host for S. hancocki. The increase in raccoon populations in the suburban areas surrounding west coast salt marshes could increase their importance as final hosts for trematodes in this system. ?? American Society of Parasitologists 2005.