Parasitology \  Laboratory for Fauna and Ecology of Parasites \  Goals and Tasks


Headed by Pelgunov Andrey Nikolaevich, Dr. Biol. Sci.

tel. (495)-952-57-46


The head of Laboratory
E.I. Vorobjeva

Sonin Mark Dmitrievich

Roitman Vitaliy Arnoldovich

History of the Laboratory begins with creation of “Cabinet of Ecology” (from 1962 headed by A.A. Mozgovoy) reorganized in 1965 into a Sector of Ecology (headed by A.A. Mozgovoy, then M.D. Sonin) of Helminthological Laboratory of the AS USSR. At this first period the main areas of its work were: decrypting of life cycles and finding out autoecological characteristics of helminthes (V.M. Ivashkin, A.A. Mozgovoy, K.M. Ryzhikov and many others).

Later ecological studies were more aimed at practical work related to search for ways and means of biological methods of parasites’ control. All-encompassing studies of trophic relations between freshwater invertebrates and free-living stages of trematode life cycles allowed the finding a possibility of using some crustaceans, insects and fishes as eliminators of larval stages of parasites (A.A. Shigin, V.Ye. Sudarikov). As the Sector (later becoming a Laboratory) was headed by V.A. Roitman (at the end of 1980s) ecological studies of parasites moved to population and biocenotic levels.

One of the main tasks of population ecology of parasites was a study of population structure of parasites and its dependence on various biotic and abiotic factors affecting dynamics of population parameters of fish parasites. Age, gender and spatial structure of parasite populations were studied using genetic markers for inter- and intrapopulational groupings of fish parasites for some species of fish helminthes used as models (B.Ye. Kazakov, Ye.N. Protasova, D.G. Tzeitlin).

An analysis of ecological peculiarities, distribution and origins of various groups of cestodes’ hosts allowed a foundation of a hypothesis of origins, ways of distribution and phylogenetic connections of primitive cestodes as a whole and their particular taxonomic groups. An original hypothesis on monozoicity of cestodes and evolution of progenesis and monoxenity had been formulated (Ye.N. Protasova).

Ecological studies of parasites of land vertebrates allowed a development of mathematical models describing peculiarities of helminthes circulation in forest ecosystems as well as the methods of prophylactics of parasite infections in game animals based on these studies (L.P. Maklakova, A.S. Rykovsky).


  • Ecology of organisms and communities
  • Biological variability

The data obtained in the Laboratory in many years became a base for parasitological theories developed last years:

  • biosphere basis for formation of parasitism phenomenon (S.A. Be’er, V.A. Roitman);
  • parasitary pollution of urbanized ecosystems (S.A. Be’er, V.A. Roitman, M.D. Sonin);
  • parasitological monitoring (S.A. Be’er).

These allowed the new capabilities for a study of variety of parasites and their effects on functioning of resource species and communities.

The priority areas of the studies in the Laboratory remain:

  • multifold studies of problems of parasites variability;
  • studies of structural and functional organization of particular populations and multispecies communities of helminthes, as well as parasite systems in water and land biocenoses;
  • studies of a character of disturbances of stable function of parasite systems in water biocenoses of territories with different degree of urbanization;
  • development of scientific basis for parasitological monitoring.

Recent years an analysis of the changes occurring in parasite systems (particularly their biological components) and regional situation on parasitosises under effects of climate changes (“global warming”) is being performed in the Laboratory (S.A. Be’er).

Studies on population variability of parasites and their hosts of various type using molecular genetics and biochemical methods together with modern statistical analysis methods are going in the Laboratory in cooperation with other Institutes (S.A. Be’er, M.V. Voronin, O.P. Zazornova, D.G. Tzeitlin).

The results of the Laboratory’s work find a wide application in the practice of public health, veterinary, fish culture, game animal husbandry, nature preservation. Scientists from the Laboratory take part in development of methodical documents of the Federal and regional levels (sanitary rules and norms, Methodic Recommendations) used in practical work of the State Sanitary and Epidemiological Control, State Veterinary Control and nature preservation agencies of the RF.

Main Achievements from 2000 to 2007

The situation on cercariosis in Moscow megalopolis revealed.

1. Regularities of development of parasite pollution of environment in urbanized ecosystems were discovered. A Patent for Discovery # 118 was given by the International Association of Scientific Discoveries Authors. The discovery was published in anthology of scientific discoveries Ms St-Pb, 2000, pp. 22-26 (M.D. Sonin, S.A. Be’er, V.A. Roitman).

2. "Concept of dual effect of parasites in assessment of biodiversity" was developed. This concept was read and discussed on 28.01.2002 at a seminar of the Fundamental Biology Section of the RAS and published in Proceedings of InPa RAS "Theoretical and Applied Problems of Parasitology" 2002, v. 43, pp. 25-36 (S.A. Be’er).

3. A concept of parasite system was developed (S.A. Be’er, V.A. Roitman).

4. Based on many years monitoring of the numbers of pathogenic helminthes from wild ungulates of Moscow Region’s North-West, a foundation for prognosis of parasitological situation in respect to dangerous parasitosises (metastrongiliosis, fasciolidiosi) of valuable species of game animals was developed (L.P. Maklakova, A.S. Rykovsky).

5. Cognitive abilities of non-metric multidimensional scaling method in the studies of parasite systems have been shown. Characteristics of several parasite systems allowing their coexistence in biocenoses were defined using this method (B.Ye. Kazakov, V.A. Roitman together with I.A. Molokanova).

6. Using ecological domination indexes, ?- and ?-variability indexes, methods of clustering, mathematical combinatorial analysis, etc., the communities of perch endohelminthes and crucian carp (Carassius auratus gibelio) ectohelminthes were studied (B.Ye. Kazakov, Ye.N. Protasova, S.G. Sokolov, D.G. Tzeitlin).

7. Characteristics of parasite systems (using fish helminthes as a model) allowing for stable circulation of parasites in water bodies of different trophic levels and ichtiocenosis structure were defined (B.Ye. Kazakov, Ye.N. Protasova).

The study of biological features of Opisthorchis felineus Riv., 1884 - a causative agent of opisthorchiasis in Russia. Phases of a miracidium leaving egg.

8. Structural and functional changes in parasite systems in small lakes of Karelia occurring at the period of succession of water biocenosis accelerated by anthropogenic effect on the basin of the lakes (woodcutting) were detected (B.Ye. Kazakov, Ye.N. Protasova, S.G. Sokolov, D.G. Tzeitlin).

9. Studies of taxonomic and ecological variability of fish parasites from the Upper Volga basin have been finished. A revision of Gyrodactylus wageneri-group out of carp fishes had been performed. Original approaches to zoogeographic and synecological studies of parasites were offered (S.G. Sokolov).

10. A faunistic study of ichtioparasites from the tundra rivers of the Sea of Okhotsk coast of Kamchatka has been made. Data on variability of parasites from Parasalmo mykiss of Kamchatka was generalized. Structural peculiarities of parasite communities formed in P. mykiss of different phenotypic groups were explained. Inaccuracy of using of parasitological data for identification of fish life strategy type was established. Based on parasitological data, main features of trophic specialization of P. mykiss, Oncorhynchus kisutch and Salvelinus malma youth were defined (S.G. Sokolov).

11. A possibility of detection of genome modifications occurring in trematodes during sporocysto-, redio- and cercariogenesis has been shown. For the first time for many trematode species of seven families an intra- and interclonal RAPD-variability among cercaries was demonstrated (S.A. Be’er, M.V. Voronin, together with the Institute of Gene Biology of the RAS).

12. Using Moscow megalopolis as a model, biological and social regularities of the worsening situation on “new” (for Russia urbanized ecosystems) parasitosis, cercariosis caused by bird schistosomes, were studied. Methods of on-the-fly assessment and the basis for prognosis of parasitological situation in respect of cercariosi in megalopolises were developed based on many years of monitoring (S.A. Be’er, M.V. Voronin).

13. Species criterions for all hermaphrodite phases in life cycle of European trematodes from g. Cotylurus were established. Nervous system of cercaries and metacercaries from g. Cotylurus and its changes during cercaria metamorphosis were studied for the first time. Based on occurrence of larval forms in natural biocenoses and on experimental data on the length of all ontogenesis stages (parthenogenetic as well as hermaphrodite generation), the peculiarities of these trematodes’ circulation were detected (O.P. Zazornova).