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Further characterisation of Haemocystidium chelodinae-like Haemoproteidae isolated from the Bellinger River snapping turtle (Myuchelys georgesi)

Austen, J.M.ORCID: 0000-0002-1826-1634, Hall, J., Zahedi, A.ORCID: 0000-0002-0165-3797, Goften, A. and Ryan, U.ORCID: 0000-0003-2710-9324 (2019) Further characterisation of Haemocystidium chelodinae-like Haemoproteidae isolated from the Bellinger River snapping turtle (Myuchelys georgesi). Parasitology Research . In Press.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-019-06547-9
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Abstract

The Bellinger River snapping turtle (Myuchelys georgesi) is endemic to Australia and is confined to a highly restricted distribution in the Bellinger River in New South Wales. Routine veterinary health examinations of 17 healthy turtles were undertaken, along with the collection and analysis of blood samples, during conservation efforts to save the species following a catastrophic population decline. Microscopy analysis of blood films detected Haemoproteidae parasites that morphologically resembled Haemocystidium chelodinae inside turtle erythrocytes. Of the 17 turtles examined, 16 were positive for infection with H. chelodinae by both light microscopy and PCR. DNA sequencing of a partial fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome b (cytb) gene and phylogenetic analysis identified two different H. chelodinae-like genotypes. The phylogenetic relationship of H. chelodinae-like to other Haemoproteidae species based on cytb sequences grouped H. chelodinae-like into the reptile clade, but revealed the Haemocystidium genus to be paraphyletic as the clade also contained Haemoproteus, thus supporting a re-naming of Haemoproteus species from reptiles to Haemocystidium species. This study reports for the first time the genetic characterisation of H. chelodinae-like organisms isolated from a new Testudine host species, the Bellinger River snapping turtle. As evidence grows, further research will be necessary to understand the mode of transmission and to investigate whether these parasites are pathogenic to their hosts.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Copyright: © Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/53192
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