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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: PARASITIC BIODIVERSITY AND THE U.S. NATIONAL PARASITE COLLECTION

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases

Title: Molecular identification of Taenia spp. In the Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx) from Finland

Authors
item Lavikainen, Antti -
item Haukisalmi, Voitto -
item Deksne, Gunita -
item Holmala, Katja -
item Lejune, Manigandan -
item Isomursu, Marja -
item Jokelainen, Pikka -
item Nareaho, Anu -
item Laakonen, Juha -
item Hoberg, Eric
item Sukura, Antti -

Submitted to: Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 21, 2012
Publication Date: January 25, 2013
Citation: Lavikainen, A., Haukisalmi, V., Deksne, G., Holmala, K., Lejune, M., Isomursu, M., Jokelainen, P., Nareaho, A., Laakonen, J., Hoberg, E.P., Sukura, A. 2013. Molecular identification of Taenia spp. in the Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx) from Finland. Parasitology. 140:653-662.

Interpretive Summary: Tapeworms of the genus Taenia are prominent parasites of mammals, with mainly carnivores as definitive (where adults occur) and herbivores as intermediate hosts (where larvae occur). As a group these tapeworms are important in food animal production and human health as potential and recognized zoonotic parasites transmitted between wild animals and people. Although the group has been studied intensively for over 200 years, we continually discover previously unrecognized species, particularly those circulating in free-ranging carnivores. An understanding of species diversity in this group of tapeworms is the foundation for recognizing geographic and host distributions and in defining the potential for transmission between wild mammals and people. The advent of molecular-based methods has greatly augmented the ability to recognize species in this morphologically difficult complex of 45 species. Various medium-sized cats, Lynx spp., are involved in the life cycles of several species of Taenia. The aim of the present study was to identify Taenia tapeworms in the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) from Finland contributing to a refined picture for diversity across the northern continents, including North America. During extensive field surveys, two species of Taenia were found: T. laticollis was numerically dominant (127 samples), and an unknown Taenia sp. was rare (5 samples). Sequences from mitochondrial DNA of the unknown species were unique, and its hooks (structures on the holdfast organ) differed from those of the other Taenia spp. recorded in felids from the Holarctic region. Our analyses suggest that these distinct taeniid tapeworms represent a putative new species of Taenia. The only currently recognized definitive host is Lynx lynx and the intermediate host is unknown. New data on the identity and integrated methods for diagnosis (combining molecular and morphological data) in this group are important for parasitologists, veterinarians, physicians and wildlife disease specialists in providing timely and rapid diagnosis of infections in both definitive and intermediate hosts involved in parasite circulation.

Technical Abstract: Cestodes of the genus Taenia are parasites of mammals, with mainly carnivores as definitive and herbivores as intermediate hosts. Various medium-sized cats, Lynx spp., are involved in the life cycles of several species of Taenia. The aim of the present study was to identify Taenia tapeworms in the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) from Finland. In total, 135 tapeworms from 72 lynx were subjected to molecular identification based on sequences of two mtDNA regions, the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 and the NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 genes. Available morphological characters of the rostellar hooks and strobila were compared. Two species of Taenia were found: T. laticollis was numerically dominant (127 samples), and an unknown Taenia sp. was rare (5 samples). MtDNA sequences of the unknown species were unique, and its hooks differed from those of the other Taenia spp. recorded in felids from the Holarctic region. In the phylogenetic analyses of mtDNA sequences, T. laticollis was placed as a sister species of T. macrocystis, and the unknown Taenia sp. was closely related to T. hydatigena and T. regis. Our analyses suggest that these distinct taeniid tapeworms represent a putative new species of Taenia. The only currently recognized definitive host is Lynx lynx and the intermediate host is unknown.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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