Division of Parasites

open weekdays 8am - 5pm
visitors welcome by appointment
information for visitors

phone: (505) 277-1360
fax: (505) 277-1351
museum administrator


Division of Parasites
Museum of Southwestern Biology
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
Division of Parasites
Museum of Southwestern Biology
CERIA Building 83 Room 204
302 Yale Blvd NE
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131


Diversity within Snail Hosts

As part of our ongoing studies to characterize the diversity of schistosome parasites from around the world, we necessarily collect snails and examine them for infection. For example, among snails from New Mexico, in addition to finding several species of avian schistosomes, we also found a peculiar nematode, Daubaylia potomaca, which is notable for its distinctive parasitic life style. This nematode is an obligatory parasite of planorbid snails, many of which transmit human schistosome infections. Once it has colonized the snail, D. potomaca multiplies within the snail, coming to occupy even the most intimate spaces in the snail, such as the interior of the heart. We are interested in novel forms of diversity like this for their own sake, but also for their potential to interfere with the ability of snails like Biomphalaria and Bulinus to support schistosome development. We are also proceeding with NextGen sequencing studies to more fully characterize the symbiont composition of schistosome-transmitting snails. Our investigations have previously turned up distinctive snail symbionts like Capsaspora owczarkaii and have recently identified putative molluscan viruses, among the first ever found in snails. Such viruses hold some promise as specific control agents for snails or could potentially be engineered to contain constructs that interfere with schistosome development.
Daubaylia potomaca
collecting snails