In this study, we report, through molecular identification, the first African records of a digenean trematode parasite of the genus Euryhelmis. We recovered metacercariae encysted in an anuran, the endemic Moroccan painted frog (Discoglossus scovazzi), and a vulnerable caudate, the North African fire salamander (Salamandra algira), from four localities in North Africa (Morocco). Our records go back to the past century and have been confirmed in successive fieldwork seasons thereafter. Metacercarial stages of these parasites require amphibians as the last intermediate host, but the exact identity of the primary hosts and predators of the infected animals in Africa remain unknown. Our searches with basic local alignment search tool (BLAST) from Genbank revealed that hosts were infected by parasites of Euryhelmis costaricensis, which showed almost the same genetic identity (with only one substitution) to previous reports from Costa Rica and Japan, suggesting a recent introduction in Morocco. We proceed to discuss the likely role of introduced mustelids as the potential definitive hosts of trematode adults. Under this assumption, we conclude that the infestation of Discoglossus scovazzi and Salamandra algira might pose a risk to these threatened species.
Parasitology Research – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 2, 2018
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