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Freshwater snails of the bulinus truncatus and bulinus tropicus complex basommatophora planorbidae in kenya diploid populations



Freshwater snails of the bulinus truncatus and bulinus tropicus complex basommatophora planorbidae in kenya diploid populations



Journal of Molluscan Studies 57(2): 143-166



Freshwater snails of the Bulinus truncatus/tropicus complex occur in Kenya as diploid and tetraploid forms which may not noticeably differ in the shell. This account provides data for diploid snails, on geographical distribution, inter-population variation, taxonomy and identification. Observations were made for 65 populations (40 newly reported) on egg proteins, body surface mucus, enzymes (5 systems), shell (10 variables), male genital system (normal or aphallic) and radula (1st lateral tooth; size and meso-cone shape). Two snail populations sampled were known to carry the trematode parasites Schistosoma bovis and Calicophoron microbothrium. All the diploid populations sampled appeared conspecific from their overall continuity in morphological variation and its lack of geographical pattern, and the observation of interbreeding between snails of contrasting morpholoy. On the other hand, there were considerable interpopulation differences in shell form, mesocone shape and enzymes. A distinct shell form (corresponding to Physa rumrutiensis Preston) is associated with seasonal rainpools. Some Kenyan populations have the mesocone commonly angular in shape, in this respect resembling B.natalensis. The entire range of forms is here classified as B. tropicus, but future subdividing of this taxon is not unlikely. Reasons are advanced for regarding as diploid, taxa of Bulinus named by Dautzenberg (alluaudi) and by Preston either validly (exserta, laikipiaensis, rumrutiensis, syngenes) or in manuscript (baringoensis, congener). The status of the taxa B. natalensis and B. zanzebaricus is discussed. Morphometry did not reveal any clear difference by which all forms of B. tropicus could be separated from both the tetraploid species B. truncatus and B. permembranaceus. Each species does have characteristic enzyme types (AcP, HBDH, MDH and GPI). B. tropicus is widely distributed in Kenya and is common in some areas where other species of Bulinus are rare or absent, but it is surprisingly not found in the coastal region.

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