Polystomatidae (Monogenea) of southern African Anura: Polystoma channingi n.sp. parasitic in two closely related Cacosternum species
Polystoma channingi is described as a new species of polystomatid flatworm (Monogenea) parasitic in the urinary bladder of Cacosternum nanum in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. In a locality where C. nanum and C. boettgeri occur sympatrically the parasite has been found in both species. This finding of a Polystoma sp. in two closely related host species questions the strict host-specificity generally ascribed to the genus, but supports the hypothesis that host-specificity is determined by the oncomiracidium’s ability to recognize the tadpole as a suitable host. This is the first polystome to be described from the genus Cacosternum and the ninth species of Polystoma from South Africa. The species is distinguished by its huge haptor and suckers relative to the body size. The haptor length/body length ratio of 0.38 is by far the largest for the known southern African polystomes. The prevalence of infection with P. channingi n.sp. was 25% for C. nanum and 40% for C. boettgeri, while the mean intensity of infections in adult frogs was 1.5 for C. boettgeri and 1.0 for C. nanum.
Key words: Monogenea, Polystomatidae, Polystoma channingi, Cacosternum nanum, Cacosternum boettgeri, South Africa.