Trematode parasites can affect their molluscan hosts, which serve as the first intermediate hosts in their life cycles, in manifold ways, but little is known about trematode-induced effects on their second intermediate hosts. Experimental infection of blue mussels Mytilus edulis serving as second intermediate hosts for larval stages (metacercariae) of the trematodes Himasthla elongata was studied in field experiments during one year. The heart rates and growth rates of noninfected mussels were significantly higher than those of infected mussels. During the summer, the heart rates of noninfected mussels showed rhythmic oscillations, whereas the parasitized animals displayed no any rhythmicity. There was a significant difference between the infected and uninfected mussels in relation to heart rates and temperature. The results indicate that mussels infected with H. elongata metacercariae may be at an energetic disadvantage relative to noninfected mussels. Furthermore, trematode infection may disrupt neuronal control of cardiac function.
Igor Bakhmet, Kirill Nikolaev, Ivan Levaki, Journal of Sea Research, Volume 123, May 2017, Pages 51–54