Transstadial transmission of Hepatozoon canis from larvae to nymphs of Rhipicephalus sanguineus

Alessio Giannelli, Rafael Antonio Nascimento Ramos, Giancarlo Di Paola, Norbert Mencke, Filipe Dantas-Torres, Gad Baneth, Domenico Otranto*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Hepatozoon canis is an apicomplexan parasite of dogs, which is known to become infected by ingesting Rhipicephalus sanguineus adult ticks. To investigate the possibility of H. canis transovarial and transstadial transmission from larvae to nymphs, engorged adult female ticks were collected from a private animal shelter in southern Italy, where H. canis infection is highly prevalent. Female ticks (n= 35) and egg batches were tested by PCR for H. canis. All eggs examined were PCR-negative whereas 88.6% of females from the environment tested positive. Additionally, fed larvae (n= 120) from a dog naturally infected by H. canis were dissected at different time points post collection (i.e. 0, 10, 20 and 30 days). Molted nymphs dissected at 20 days post collection revealed immature oocysts displaying an amorphous central structure in 50% of the specimens, and oocysts containing sporocysts with sporozoites were found in 53.3% of the nymphs dissected at 30 days post collection. This study demonstrates that H. canis is not transmitted transovarially, but it is transmitted transstadially from larvae to nymphs of R. sanguineus and develops sporozoites in oocysts that may infect dogs.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from Bayer Animal Health GmbH, Leverkusen, Germany .


  • Biology
  • Dog
  • Hepatozoon canis
  • Larva
  • Nymph
  • Rhipicephalus sanguineus
  • Transmission
  • Transstadial


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