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Trypanosomes of Australian mammals: A review

Thompson, C.K., Godfrey, S.S. and Thompson, R.C.A. (2014) Trypanosomes of Australian mammals: A review. International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife, 3 (2). pp. 57-66.

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Approximately 306 species of terrestrial and arboreal mammals are known to have inhabited the mainland and coastal islands of Australia at the time of European settlement in 1788. The exotic Trypanosoma lewisi was the first mammalian trypanosome identified in Australia in 1888, while the first native species, Trypanosoma pteropi, was taxonomically described in 1913. Since these discoveries, about 22% of the indigenous mammalian fauna have been examined during the surveillance of trypanosome biodiversity in Australia, including 46 species of marsupials, 9 rodents, 9 bats and both monotremes. Of those mammals examined, trypanosomes have been identified from 28 host species, with eight native species of Trypanosoma taxonomically described. These native trypanosomes include T. pteropi, Trypanosoma thylacis, Trypanosoma hipposideri, Trypanosoma binneyi, Trypanosoma irwini, Trypanosoma copemani, Trypanosoma gilletti and Trypanosoma vegrandis. Exotic trypanosomes have also been identified from the introduced mammalian fauna of Australia, and include T. lewisi, Trypanosoma melophagium, Trypanosoma theileri, Trypanosoma nabiasi and Trypanosoma evansi. Fortunately, T. evansi was eradicated soon after its introduction and did not establish in Australia. Of these exotic trypanosomes, T. lewisi is the sole representative that has been reported from indigenous Australian mammals; morphological forms were recorded from two indigenous species of rodents (Hydromys chrysogaster and Rattus fuscipes). Numerous Australian marsupial species are potentially at risk from the native T. copemani, which may be chronically pathogenic, while marsupials, rodents and monotremes appear at risk from exotic species, including T. lewisi, Trypanosoma cruzi and T. evansi. This comprehensive review of trypanosome biodiversity in Australia highlights the negative impact of these parasites upon their mammalian hosts, as well as the threatening biosecurity concerns.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier Limited
Copyright: © 2014 The Authors.
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