Hepatozoon silvestris sp. Nov. Morphological and molecular characterization of a new species of Hepatozoon (Adeleorina: Hepatozoidae) from the European wild cat (Felis silvestris silvestris)

Adnan Hodžić, Amer Alić, Senad Prašović, Domenico Otranto, Gad Baneth, Georg Gerhard Duscher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

Based on morphological and genetic characteristics, we describe a new species of Hepatozoon in the European wild cat (Felis silvestris silvestris), herein named Hepatozoon silvestris sp. nov. The study also provides the first data on the occurrence of H. felis in this wild felid. Hepatozoon meronts were observed in multiple cross-sections of different organs of four (44%) cats. Additionally, extracellular forms, resembling mature gamonts of Hepatozoon, were found in the spleen and myocardium of two cats. Furthermore, tissues of six animals (67%) were positive by PCR. Hepatozoon felis was identified infecting one cat (11%), whereas the 18S rRNA sequences of the remaining five cats (56%) were identical, but distinct from the sequences of H. felis. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that those sequences form a highly supported clade distant from other Hepatozoon spp. Future studies should include domestic cats from the areas where the wild cats positive for H. silvestris sp. nov. were found, in order to investigate their potential role to serve as intermediate hosts of this newly described species. Identification of its definitive host(s) and experimental transmission studies are required for elucidating the full life cycle of this parasite and the possible alternative routes of its transmission.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)650-661
Number of pages12
JournalParasitology
Volume144
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Cambridge University Press.

Keywords

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • European wild cat
  • Felis silvestris silvestris
  • Hepatozoon felis
  • Hepatozoon silvestris sp. nov.
  • molecular characterization
  • morphology

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