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Snake Lungworm Alliance & Monitoring

Snake Lungworm Alliance & Monitoring

Investigating and Studying Pentastomes

SLAM (Snake Lungworm Alliance and Monitoring) is an interdisciplinary nexus of researchers, land managers, local government, and citizen scientists that conduct opportunistic surveillance for the invasive snake lungworm, Raillietiella orientalis across the southeastern United States. Currently, we’ve documented eleven new counties with prevalence and infections in novel host species. Our network, founded in the spring of 2022, aims to assess the prevalence and intensity of R. orientalis infection in snake communities to further characterize the conservation concerns it poses to native herpetofauna. Given the broad range of host species and its presence in the pet trade, expanding the SLAM network remains imperative.

Life Cycle of Snake Lungworm

Lifecycle of R.O.

Snake pentastomes have a complex life history as the parasite can infect multiple species throughout their life cycle. Fishes, amphibians, and mammals may serve as intermediate hosts for pentastomes that later will go on to infect snakes as their final or definitive host species before reproduction and egg release.

The life cycle of Raillietiella orientalis in Florida can be broken into three progressive steps:

  1. Eggs are ingested through feces by invertebrates, like a roach
  2. Here they mature to a larval stage and eventually get passed along to smaller vertebrates such as toads, rodents and lizards
  3. Snake pentastomes are transferred to their final snake host when the snake preys upon an infected intermediate host (i.e. a frog or rat)
Look Where We Spotted Invasives
Thu, 28 Mar 2024 13:49:15 EDT