First report of Spirocerca vulpis in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Portugal

Adelina Gama, Alicia Rojas, Isabel Pires, Teresa Coutinho, Fernanda Seixas, Filipe Silva, Ana Patrícia Lopes, Luís Cardoso*, Gad Baneth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Recent studies have described Spirocerca lupi-like nematodes in the stomach of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Europe. A phylogenetic analysis of those specimens using mitochondrial DNA and their morphological reexamination allowed their characterization as a different species, Spirocerca vulpis. Between the years of 2010 and 2017, roundworms were collected from seven red foxes of northeastern Portugal found at necropsy with nodular lesions on their stomach wall. Histopathological analysis of four foxes revealed granulomatous lesions of the gastric nodules. On morphological assessment, by light microscopy, nematodes revealed the presence of six triangular teeth-like buccal capsule structures, which are absent in S. lupi. Polymerase chain reaction was run to amplify a 551 bp partial fragment of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene. Sequences were 99% similar to S. vulpis (85% coverage) of red foxes from Spain and Bosnia and Herzegovina, 99% similar (99% coverage) to sequences of Spirocerca sp. of red foxes from Denmark and 93% similar (99% coverage) to S. lupi from South Africa. This is the first report of S. vulpis in foxes or any other host from Portugal.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3109-3112
Number of pages4
JournalParasitology Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • DNA sequencing
  • Morphology
  • Portugal
  • Red foxes
  • Spirocerca vulpis


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