Nematodes are a group of "roundworms" with pronounced bilateral symmetry. They are one of the most common invertebrate taxa. They include many animal parasites such as roundworms, pinworms, hookworms, threadworms, filarial worms, etc.


Presentation
The national collection of Zooparasitic nematodes, founded in the 19th century, has been developing since 1960, when the Zoology-Worms chair (A.G. Chabaud, Director) was created, and its diversity now makes it one of the top three collections in the world. For the vertebrate parasites, it covers all the Secernentea groups (clades III, IV, V), rhadiasids, cosmocercids, ascarids, oxyurids, spirurids and filariae, strongylids, trichostrongylids, metastrongylids etc., as well as Adenophorea groups (clade I), both common (Trichinelloidea) and rare (Muspiceoidea).

For arthropod parasites, oxyurids and rhigonematids make up the bulk of the collection; tylenchids and mermithids are the least well represented, along with oligochaete and mollusc parasites. The specimens come from all over the world and are particularly abundant in the tropical regions. They were harvested on the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle’s missions or donated by French and foreign colleagues. The collection is particularly rich in nematodes of rodents and Australian and South American marsupials, as well as "fish", but no vertebrate group is left out.

In total, the collection contains around 1,000 lots of types, 2,000 slides and over 25,000 lots in tubes. Larval forms derived from experiment cycles have also been preserved.
The Zooparasitic nematode collection is to a large extent computerised and recorded in COLLVERS, a common database for Nematodes and Helminths.
The database contains the following information for each parasite and host: genus and species name, superfamily, geographical position and date of harvest.

Research
The research of the Zooparasitic nematode collection meets the following needs:

  • consolidating the existing collections and data: the collection continues to grow through regular harvests, currently taking place among rodents, ruminants, chiroptera and saurians. The process of recording and computerising the specimens is continuing.
  • transferring the samples to the best storage systems possible
  • defining sample storage methods that are compatible with molecular analyses: a DNA library is currently being created.
  • facilitating research by providing access to the collections and data: the collection manager is in charge of loans and welcoming researchers.

This collection is a tool for active research in systematics, biology and phylogeny, and features in over 2,000 articles. It is used for expert appraisals in the veterinary, medical and environmental fields. Some species provide experimental models of nematodoses.

Contacts
Coralie Martin, Head of Conservation
coralie.martin@mnhn.fr
Tel. +33(0)1 40 79 34 96

Onchocercidae © MNHN - Witek Kilarski, EPFL, Lausanne
Onchocercidae © MNHN - Witek Kilarski, EPFL, Lausanne, par Witek Kilarski

Above: Onchocercidae, Litomosoides sigmodontis, stage 3 in a mouse lymphatic vessel, TRITC immunolabelling.