Developing a dedicated cestode life cycle database: lessons from the hymenolepidids

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Abstract

The Cestode Life Cycle Database (CLCdb) project was initiated in 2005 with the objective to develop a comprehensive and centralised resource to store, retrieve and analyse key information concerning tapeworm life cycles; e.g. morphogenesis, intermediate host identities, transmission patterns, etc. It constitutes the first electronic database to deal with complex life cycle information for any helminth taxon. Here we critically evaluate our experience after exhaustively entering data for our model group, the cyclophyllidean family Hymenolepididae. After providing basic statistics (530 consulted references; ∼ 230 ‘known’ life cycle), we identify future needs in turning the CLCdb into an open access monograph covering all cestode groups. We review the added benefits and potential utilities of the database for cestodologists and other users, including ecologists and veterinarians, and we call for specialist contributions. Since late 2007, a short version of the CLCdb has been available online, with basic functionalities and tools (www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/projects/cestode-life-cycle/index.html).

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