The distribution of the metacercariae of Diplostomum phoxini in the brain of minnows, Phoxinus phoxinus

Iain Barber*, D. W.T. Crompton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (SciVal)


Quantitative data are presented on the spatial distribution of metacercariae of the digenean trematode Diplostomum phoxini (Faust, 1918) in the brains of minnows, Phoxinus phoxinus (Linnaeus, 1758), from two Scottish populations. Sequential examination of serial histological sections revealed metacercariae to be unevenly distributed throughout the brain, aggregating in specific regions including the cerebellum, the medulla oblongata and the optic lobes. In addition, a number of metacercariae were found in the anterior part of the spinal cord. The inferior lobe of the cerebellum, pituitary, olfactory lobes and olfactory bulbs were largely free of metacercariae. Reasons for the uneven distribution of metacercariae within the brains of infected minnows are discussed, including the possibility that the parasite may have evolved to enhance its transmission to subsequent hosts by aggregating in regions known to be important in the control of the host's antipredator responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalFolia Parasitologica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • brain flukes
  • helminths
  • manipulation hypothesis
  • parasites
  • site selection
  • Central Nervous System Diseases/parasitology
  • Trematode Infections/veterinary
  • Brain Diseases/parasitology
  • Scotland
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Cyprinidae/anatomy & histology
  • Fish Diseases/parasitology
  • Animals
  • Brain/anatomy & histology


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