Submitted to: International Society of Protistologists
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/3/2006
Publication Date: 6/20/2006
Citation: Fayer, R., Santin, M., Dubey, J.P., Fair, P., Bossart, G.D. 2006. Protist parasites in bottle-nosed dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Florida and South Carolina. International Society of Protistologist (ISOP) and International Workshop on Opportunistic Protists (IWOP-9), June 20-24, 2006. Lisbon, Portugal.
Technical Abstract: Feces were examined from 99 Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins captured and released as part of the Dolphin Health and Risk Assessment project in the Charleston, SC, harbor estuarine environment and the Indian River Lagoon, FL, during 2004 and 2005. Feces from rectal swabs or feces collected via enema were subjected to DNA extraction and PCR protocols for Cryptosporidium and generic Microsporidia. A two step nested protocol was used to amplify a fragment of the SSU rRNA gene of Cryptosporidium and Microsporidia. PCR products were purified, sequenced, and sequence data were examined to determine identity. Cryptosporidium was not detected in any specimens. Microsporidia were detected in specimens from 18 dolphins. Sequence data from 15 specimens were similar to but not identical to Kabatana takedai, Tetramicra brevifilum and Microgemma tincae reported from fish. Likewise, sequence data from three specimens were similar to Enterocytozoon bieneusi (~87% homology), a species infecting humans and a variety of terrestrial mammals. The presence of fish-like Microsporidia might represent parasites of fish eaten by dolphins whereas the presence of E. bieneusi -like organisms might represent a genotype of this species that infects dolphins. Sera from dolphins captured and released from the same locations in 2003 and 2004 were examined for exposure to Toxoplasma gondii utilizing five antibody based tests; 147 sera were found positive. The present findings of E. bieneusi and T. gondii are presumptive and should be confirmed by detection of these organisms in tissues.