Diplozoon paradoxum

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Diplozoon paradoxum
Dobbeltdyr.gif
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Platyhelminthes
Class: Monogenea
Subclass: Polyopisthocotylea
Family: Diplozoidae
Genus: Diplozoon
Species: D. paradoxum
Binomial name
Diplozoon paradoxum
Nordmann, 1832

Diplozoon paradoxum is a flatworm (platyhelminth) from the class Monogenea found in freshwater fishes in Asia and Europe and known for its complete monogamy. This parasite is commonly found on the gills of European cyprinid fishes. It is usually around 0.7 centimeters long (approximately the size of a fingernail) and has bilateral symmetry. It has several hooks at its mouth which it uses to grab on to the gills of a fish. From there it feeds on the blood of a Cyprinid.

They exhibit strong seasonal variation in their reproductive activity. Unlike most parasites that produce gametes all year, paradoxum gametes are produced primarily during the spring, with the highest production from May to June and continuing through the rest of the summer. The eggs of Diplozoon paradoxum are laid in a freshwater fish's gills. There it hatches into a larva stage (oncomiracidium, diporpa). It remains in that stage unless two larvae come together. Then the two larvae undergo metamorphosis and become fused.

Life cycle[edit]

The life cycle of D. paradoxum is unique. A diporpa juvenile can live for several months, but it cannot develop further until encountering another diporpa; unless this happens, the diporpa usually dies. When one diporpa finds another, each attaches its sucker to the dorsal papilla of the other. This begins one of the most intimate associations of two individuals of the animal kingdom. The two worms fuse completely, with no trace of separating partitions. The fusion stimulates maturation. Gonads appear; the male genital duct of one terminates near the female genital duct of the other, permitting cross-fertilization. Two more pairs of clamps develop in the opisthaptor[further explanation needed] of each. Adults can apparently live in this state for several years.

Here is excerpt from a New York Times article:

Diplozoon paradoxum are hermaphroditic flatworms that live on gills of freshwater fishes. Males and females meet each other during their juvenile stage, and their bodies completely fuse together, whereupon they remain faithful until death," Dr. Barash said. Once the two worms have fused together cross-fertilization can be permitted. "That's the only species I know of in which there seems to be 100 percent monogamy."

References[edit]