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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED BIOSYSTEMATICS AND TAXONOMY FOR PARASITES AMONG UNGULATES AND OTHER VERTEBRATES Title: Overview of the Cestode fauna of European shrews of the genus Sorex with an exploration of historical processes in post-glacial Europe

Authors
item Binkiene, Rasa -
item Kontrimavichus, Vytautas -
item Hoberg, Eric

Submitted to: Journal of Natural History
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 27, 2011
Publication Date: November 17, 2011
Citation: Binkiene, R., Kontrimavichus, V., Hoberg, E.P. 2011. Overview of the Cestode fauna of European shrews of the genus Sorex with an exploration of historical processes in post-glacial Europe. Journal of Natural History. 48:201-228.

Interpretive Summary: Studies of parasite diversity reveal insights about the structure of the biosphere and the forces that have served to determine the contemporary distributions of complex faunas in space and in time. Collectively, these studies represent important models for revealing the fundamental processes involved in the diversification of complex host-pathogen systems. We explored the diversity (numbers of species), host, and geographic distributions for the tapeworms (cestodes) which infect shrews (insectivorous mammals) in the western European region and their connection to a broader fauna across high latitude systems. The cestode fauna in shrews of the genus Sorex from the European region consists of seventeen species. Twelve cestode species have broad Palearctic distributions, three belong to the Western-Asian–European faunistic complex, and only two are endemic to the European zone. Postglacial expansion (dispersal) into the European territory resulted in geographic colonization by sixteen species. The large number of cestode species with ranges encompassing the Eurasia, as well as paleontological data indicating a nearly complete faunal turnover for species of Sorex in the Pleistocene, suggests that these parasites are more ancient than the assemblage of contemporary hosts in which they now occur. We suggest that origins of the cestode fauna pre-date those of the modern fauna of its hosts, and that initial formation and radiation occurred not later than the Pliocene (about 3 million years ago). These studies are important in identifying a role for dispersal with host and geographic colonization as important mechanisms operating in the formation of this fauna. These conclusions contribute to a general model for the history of pathogen faunas in mammalian hosts, including an array of viral and bacterial microparasites (zoonoses) that infect both animals and people.

Technical Abstract: The cestode fauna in shrews of the genus Sorex from the European region consists of seventeen species. Twelve cestode species have broad Palearctic distributions, three belong to the Western-Asian–European faunistic complex, and only two are endemic to the European zone. Postglacial expansion into the European territory resulted in geographic colonization by sixteen species. The large number of cestode species with transpalearctic ranges, as well as paleontological data indicating a nearly complete faunal turnover for species of Sorex in the Pleistocene, suggests that these parasites are more ancient than the assemblage of contemporary hosts in which they now occur. We suggest that origins of the cestode fauna pre-date those of the modern fauna of its hosts, and that initial formation and radiation occurred not later than the Pliocene. In the current review, we address the structure, history and development of this fauna which appears limited to species of Sorex.

Last Modified: 9/2/2014
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