Nematodes from the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii (Boitard)), with the description of Sarcophiloxyuris longus n. gen. and n. sp. (Oxyuridae)

Di Barton, L. Smales, Vanessa Lee, Xiaocheng Zhu, Shokoofeh Shamsi

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The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii (Boitard)) is an endangered carnivorous marsupial, limited to the islands of Tasmania in southern Australia. The parasites of the Tasmanian devil are understudied. This study aimed to increase the knowledge of the nematode fauna of Tasmanian devils. Ten Tasmanian devils were examined for parasites from northern and southern Tasmania. Nematodes that were collected were morphologically characterized as two separate species. Molecular sequencing was undertaken to verify the identity of these species. A new genus and species of oxyurid nematode was collected from a single Tasmanian devil from the northern part of Tasmania. The nematode is differentiated from oxyurids described from other Australian amphibians, reptiles and marsupials by the characters of the male posterior end – that is, in having three pairs of caudal papillae, two pairs peri-cloacal, one large pair post-cloacal, a long tapering tail, a stout spicule and a gubernaculum and accessory piece, as well as its much larger overall size. Molecular sequencing was unsuccessful. The remaining nematodes collected from the Tasmanian devil in this study were all identified as Baylisascaris tasmaniensis Sprent, 1970, through morphology and molecular sequencing. This paper presents the first description of a new genus and species of oxyurid nematode from the Tasmanian devil, Sarcophiloxyuris longus n. gen., n. sp. The need to undertake more sampling of the parasites of endangered hosts, such as the Tasmanian devil, to assist with a better understanding of their conservation management, is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere38
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Helminthology
Early online date30 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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