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East Missoula, MT, United States

Santoro M.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Tripepi M.,CIPR | Kinsella J.M.,Helm West Laboratory | Panebianco A.,Messina University | Mattiucci S.,University of Rome La Sapienza
Veterinary Journal

Helminth infestation was identified at post mortem examination in 110/116 (95%) raptors belonging to six species in Southern Italy. Pathological changes associated with helminths were observed in 81/110 (74%) of birds. Lesions in the respiratory system were associated with the nematode Serratospiculum tendo only in Falco peregrinus. Lesions in the digestive tract in a range of species of raptors were associated with nematodes (Cheilospirura falconis, Dispharynx falconis, Dispharynx mathewossianae, Physaloptera spp., Procyrnea spp., Procyrnea leptoptera, Synhimantus spp., Synhimantus laticeps, Eucoleus dispar, Porrocaecum spp. and Porrocaecum angusticolle), acanthocephalans (Centrorhynchus buteonis and Centrorhynchus globocaudatus), digeneans (Neodiplostomum spp., Neodiplostomum perlatum, Parastrigea intermedia and Strigea falconis) and a single cestode (Cladotaenia spp.). © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Santoro M.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Santoro M.,University of Tuscia | Aznar F.J.,University of Valencia | Mattiucci S.,University of Rome La Sapienza | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Helminthology

Parasite assemblages of the Western whip snake Hierophis viridiflavus carbonarius were investigated from the Calabria region in southern Italy. A total of 14 parasite taxa including 6 nematodes, 3 acanthocephalans, 2 cestodes, 2 digeneans and a single pentastomid was identified. Within the study area, H. v. carbonarius serves as the final host for seven species of helminths, of which only four (Hexametra quadricornis, Kalicephalus viperae, Paracapillaria sonsinoi and Renifer aniarum) can be considered as snake specialists, while one (Oswaldocruzia filiformis) is shared with other reptiles and amphibians, and two (Paradistomum mutabile and Rhabdias fuscovenosa) with lizards. A large proportion of larval forms of six helminth taxa (about 95% of all helminths collected) was found, for which H. v. carbonarius serves as an intermediate and/or paratenic host; however, adult stages of helminths were prevalent in snakes with snout-to-vent length greater than 70Â cm. Our results suggest that ontogenetic and ecological factors should exert a strong influence upon the helminth assemblage of Western whip snakes. We concluded that H. v. carbonarius plays an important role in southern Italy as an intermediate/paratenic host for species of helminths infecting vertebrate groups which may include this snake species within their feeding chain. Eleven taxa, including three potential agents of zoonosis, were added to the poorly known parasite fauna of this host. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012. Source

Santoro M.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Tkach V.V.,University of North Dakota | Mattiucci S.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Kinsella J.M.,Helm West Laboratory | Nascetti G.,University of Tuscia
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

Over the past decades, as a result of various human activities involving intentional or unintentional movement of animals, many helminth species have been introduced to new regions with several ecological and epidemiological implications for the native species. A high prevalence of infection with an introduced digenean Renifer aniarum, previously known only from North America, was found in the grass snake Natrix natrix in the Calabria region, southern Italy. Morphological and molecular comparison with North American R. aniarum has confirmed the identity of the Italian specimens. A total of 41 grass snakes were studied for R. aniarum infection. Of 24 snakes sampled be - tween 2009 and 2010, 22 were positive for this parasite. In contrast, all 17 snakes sampled from museum collections between 1983 and 1994 were negative. Our results support the hypothesis that R. aniarum was perhaps introduced into this area during the 1990s by the translocation of the American bullfrog Lithobates (Rana) catesbeianus, a normal second intermediate host of the digenean in its native range in North America. Although the life cycle of R. aniarum is complex and includes 3 host stages, this parasite has found suitable first and second intermediate hosts as well as definitive hosts in Italy. Renifer aniarum was second only to the very common grass snake tapeworm Ophiotaenia europaea in both prevalence and abundance among 9 species of helminths recovered in our study. © 2011 Inter-Research. Source

Moraga P.,Purdue University | Kinsella J.M.,Helm West Laboratory | Sepulveda M.S.,Purdue University
Journal of Helminthology

Very little is known about parasitic diseases of eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina). The objective of this study was to examine the parasitic fauna of eastern box turtles collected from southern Indiana, USA. Turtles (n = 40) were salvaged mostly as road kills from southern Indiana between May and October 2009. Seven species of helminths in total were found parasitizing the gastrointestinal tract, including two digenean trematodes (Brachycoelium salamandrae and Telorchis robustus) and five nematodes (Oswaldocruzia pipiens, Cosmocercoides dukae, Falcaustra affinis, F. chelydrae and Serpinema trispinosus). We report prevalence, abundance and mean intensity of infection for all helminths. Helminths were not found in any other organs examined (heart, gonads, liver, heart, kidney and urinary bladder) and no ectoparasites were found. Overall, mean intensity of infections was low (1-14 parasites/host), suggesting that these parasites are unlikely to be associated with negative health impacts. This constitutes the first study of this kind for Indiana. © 2011 Cambridge University Press. Source

Santoro M.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Kinsella J.M.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Kinsella J.M.,Helm West Laboratory | Galiero G.,University of Rome La Sapienza | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Parasitology

We compared helminth communities in 6 species of birds of prey from the Calabria region of southern Italy. In total, 31 helminth taxa, including 17 nematodes, 9 digeneans, 3 acanthocephalans, and 2 cestodes, were found. All helminth species were observed in the gastrointestinal tract, except for 3 spirurid nematodes. Most of the parasite species were detected in at least 2 hosts, but 13 helminth species were found in only 1 host. At the infracommunity level, the overall species richness and Brillouin's index of diversity varied by host, with the highest values in a generalist feeder, the Eurasian buzzard (Buteo buteo), and the lowest in a specialist, the western honey buzzard (Pernis apivorus). Species richness was gender dependent only in the sparrow hawk (Accipiter nisus). The helminth communities were characterized by different dominant species, namely, Centrorhynchus spp. (Acanthocephala) in the Eurasian buzzard and common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), Parastrigea intermedia (Digenea) in the marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus), Physaloptera alata (Nematoda) in the sparrow hawk, Serratospiculum tendo (Nematoda) in the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), and Strigea falconis (Digenea) in the western honey buzzard. Statistical analyses confirmed a highly significant difference of helminth infracommunity structure among host species. We conclude that in the Calabria region of southern Italy, each of the raptor species studied is distinct in terms of its helminth communities, and more diverse feeding habits of the host correspond with richer helminth communities. © American Society of Parasitologists 2012. Source

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