Dolichoperoides macalpini (Nicoll, 1914) (Digenea: Dolichoperoididae) infecting venomous snakes (Elapidae) across Australia: molecular characterisation and infection parameters

Diane P. Barton, Damian C. Lettoof, Simon Fearn, Xiaocheng Zhu, Nidhish Francis, Shokoofeh Shamsi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Specimens of Dolichoperoides macalpini (Nicoll, 1914) (Digenea: Dolichoperoididae) were collected from Australian venomous snakes (Elapidae): Notechis scutatus Peters, 1861 and Austrelaps superbus (Günther, 1858) from Tasmania and surrounding islands and N. s. occidentalis Glauert, 1948 from wetlands near Perth, Western Australia. Despite variation in morphological measurements, genetic analysis showed that the one species of digeneans infected the snakes from all locations. This study presents the first DNA sequences for D. macalpini (internal transcribed spacer, 18S, 28S), confirming its placement in a family separate from the Reniferidae and Telorchiidae. Analysis of the infection dynamics of infection in Western Australian snakes showed significant differences in levels of infection between wetland locations, season and year of collection. Infection of D. macalpini was reported in the gastrointestinal tract, including the mouth, in freshly euthanised snakes in Western Australia, and in the lung in Tasmanian snakes, consistent with earlier reports. Differences in morphology and site of infection are suggested to be due to a combination of season and maturity of the digenean, with infection potentially occurring early in the season, as the snakes emerge from torpor. The need for research on the seasonal dynamics of infection with this parasite is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1663-1670
Number of pages8
JournalParasitology Research
Volume121
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

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