Genetic diversity of avian blood parasites in SE Europe: cytochrome b lineages of the genera Plasmodium and Haemoproteus (Haemosporida) from Bulgaria. Acta Parasitol

Acta Parasitologica (Impact Factor: 0.91). 09/2010; 55(3):201-209. DOI: 10.2478/s11686-010-0029-z


We used a nested PCR protocol to examine the genetic diversity of cytochrome b (cyt b) lineages from blood parasites of the genera Plasmodium and Haemoproteus in birds in Bulgaria. In total, 460 birds of 43 species and 14 families (mostly passerines) were examined for the presence
of infections. Of them, 267 were recognised as infected with haemosporidian parasites. Mixed infections were recorded in 24
individuals (9%). Besides the 24 individuals with mix infections, 114 (43%) were positive for Plasmodium spp. and 129 (48%) for Haemoproteus spp. We identified 52 genetic lineages of haemosporidian parasites: 38 of Haemoproteus and 14 of Plasmodium. Twelve new cyt b lineages of Haemoproteus were recorded; they occurred in the following hosts: grey-faced woodpecker (Picus canus), golden oriole (Oriolus oriolus), jay (Garrulus glandarius), barred warbler (Sylvia nisoria), song thrush (Turdus philomelos), spotted flycatcher (Muscicapa striata), spanish sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis), hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes), and cirl bunting (Emberiza cirlus). We also detected 22 new host records for previously known lineages. The most common lineage was SGS1 (Plasmodium relictum), which had a total prevalence of 14% and occurred in 8 host species belonging to 5 families. Three of the cyt b lineages of genus Haemoproteus (DURB1, DURB2 and SYNIS2) showed more than 5% divergence from all described morphologically lineages. These lineages probably
represent at least 2 different morphospecies which remains to be identified.

KeywordsCytochrome b lineages-

Download full-text


Available from: Pavel Zehtindjiev, Oct 14, 2014
98 Reads
  • Source
    • "Captured insects were washed from sticky Petri dishes using petrol and were further cleaned by petrol and washed with 96 % ethanol. Insects were then stored in ethanol, and Simulium specimens were assigned to species by stereomicroscope examination and in accordance with standard determination literature (Chvála 1980). Taxonomic status of several specimens of each Simulium species was verified via barcoding using the Barcode of Life Database (BOLD). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Sedentary bird species are suitable model hosts for identifying potential vectors of avian blood parasites. We studied haemosporidian infections in the Tengmalm's Owl (Aegolius funereus) in the Ore Mountains of the Czech Republic using molecular detection methods. Sex of owl nestlings was scored using molecular sexing based on fragment analysis of PCR-amplified CHD1 introns. Observed infection prevalences in nestlings and adult owls were 51 and 86 %, respectively. Five parasite lineages were detected. Most of the infections comprised the Leucocytozoon AEFUN02 and STOCC06 lineages that probably refer to distinct Leucocytozoon species. Other lineages were detected only sporadically. Mixed infections were found in 49 % of samples. The main factor affecting the probability of infection was host age. No effect of individual sex on infection probability was evidenced. The youngest infected nestling was 12 days old. High parasite prevalence in the Tengmalm's Owl nestlings suggests that insect vectors must enter nest boxes to transmit parasites before fledging. Hence, we placed sticky insect traps into modified nest boxes, collected potential insect vectors, and examined them for the presence of haemosporidian parasites using molecular detection. We trapped 201 insects which were determined as biting midges from the Culicoides genus and two black fly species, Simulium (Nevermannia) vernum and Simulium (Eusimulium) angustipes. Six haemosporidian lineages were detected in the potential insect vectors, among which the Leucocytozoon lineage BT2 was common to the Tengmalm's Owl and the trapped insects. However, we have not detected the most frequently encountered Tengmalm's Owl Leucocytozoon lineages AEFUN02 and STOCC06 in insects.
    Parasitology Research 09/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00436-015-4745-z · 2.10 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "to identify the parasites. Positive control guaranteeing the quality of the DNA was provided by genotyping microsatellites in African samples (Flade et al. 2011), and by molecular sexing of the Portuguese samples, for which the Z002 primer pairs (Dawson, 2007) were used following the procedures described by Neto et al. (2011). Four individuals for which the sex had been determined in the field (from signs of the presence of a brood patch) were correctly identified by the molecular method as females, indicating that, as with other bird species, Z002 primers work well in Aquatic Warblers (Dawson, 2007; Neto et al. 2011). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The diversity and prevalence of malaria parasites of the genera Plasmodium and Haemoproteus were determined in the globally-threatened Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola. Birds were sampled during migration in Portugal and at the wintering quarters in Senegal and parasites were detected using molecular methods. Only three generalist parasite lineages (Plasmodium) were found. There were no significant differences in the prevalence of parasites between sexes in Europe, but adults had higher prevalence than first-year birds, and birds in Europe had higher prevalence than those captured in Africa. When comparing with other Acrocephalus species and taking sample size into account, Aquatic Warblers had the lowest prevalence and, together with another threatened species, the Seychelles Warbler Acrocephalus sechellensis, the lowest diversity of malaria parasites. We hypothesize that the low diversity of parasites and absence of specialist lineages of Aquatic Warblers are caused by its small population size and fragmented distribution. Furthermore, Aquatic Warblers' extreme habitat specialization may decrease their exposure to malaria parasites, but other explanations such as high mortality (which would constraint the sampling of infected birds) or, in contrast, very efficient immunological system in clearing the infections cannot be ruled out. This study contributes to explain variation in prevalence and diversity of malaria parasites among hosts.
    Parasitology 04/2015; 142(09):1-7. DOI:10.1017/S0031182015000414 · 2.56 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Hemosporidian parasites have important effects on the life history of hosts by reducing survival (Dawson and Bortolotti 2000; Breman 2001; Valkiūnas 2005), body condition (Valkiūnas et al. 2006; Palinauskas et al. 2008), and reproductive success (Merino et al. 2000; MacDougall-Shackleton et al. 2002; Marzal et al. 2005; Tomás et al. 2007). Hence, a considerable number of studies have focused on the effects of these protozoans in birds (Hellgren et al. 2009; Dimitrov et al. 2010; Garamszegi 2011; Lachish et al. 2011; Mostowy and Engelstädter 2011; Cornet et al. 2013). These blood parasites show a complex life cycle, where the presence of a vector transmitting the infection is required (Valkiūnas 2005). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Active and risk-taking behavior may bring animals into contact with predators but can also result in frequent encounters with parasites and vectors via the exploration of risky or diverse habitats. Therefore, we predicted that antipredator behavior, here measured as escape behavior when captured by a human, would correlate with risk of parasite infection at the interspecific level with bolder species having more parasites than risk-averse species. Here we tested whether species with more active escape behavior also tended to have high prevalence of blood parasites, specifically hemosporidian parasites. Focusing on effect sizes we found that escape behavior was intermediately and positively related to prevalence of infection with Haemoproteus and Leucocytozoon, whereas that was not the case for the more virulent Plasmodium. Species that were habitat generalists and hence encountered a greater diversity of habitats had higher prevalence of blood parasites than specialists. In addition, some components of escape behavior were correlated at an intermediate magnitude with habitat exploration, as reflected by the relative frequency of feeding innovations, and coloniality. We failed to find considerable patterns of correlations between most of the behavioral variables and flight initiation distance, another commonly used antipredator behavior. Therefore, behavioral responses to an approaching predator and to being caught by a human likely represent 2 independent axes of antipredator behavior that do not evolve in concert. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that escape behavior is related to risk of infection with blood parasites partially mediated by the effect of habitat generalism.
    Behavioral Ecology 07/2014; DOI:10.1093/beheco/aru066 · 3.18 Impact Factor
Show more