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Fundamentals of Tropical Freshwater Wetlands
2022, 417-485

A snapshot of parasites in tropical and subtropical freshwater wetlands: modest attention for major players

Maarten P.M. Vanhov1,2, Nikol Kmentová1,2, Wilmien J. Luus-Powell3

Research Group Zoology, Biodiversity and Toxicology, Centre for Environmental Sciences, Hasselt University, Diepenbeek, Belgium.

Abstract

Given the unique diversity in wetlands and the fact that parasite richness often outnumbers that of free-living organisms, tropical freshwater wetlands are expected to display an extensive and diverse parasite assemblage. Rather than an exhaustive encyclopedic overview, we aim to provide the reader with a flavor of the taxonomic diversity of water-borne parasites. The importance of parasites to wetland ecology and host conservation will be highlighted using relevant case studies. Given the intricate link between the health of people, animals, and ecosystems, this chapter takes an integrative view to parasites and alternate hosts, including vectors, of tropical wetlands. To enable such a “One Health” approach, we highlight some aspects of parasite and vector biology that merit increased scientific attention.

Keywords: Disease vectors, diversity, emerging diseases, environmental parasitology, host–parasite interactions, life cycle, One Health, wildlife health, zoonosis.

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