Ornithodoros faccinii n. sp. (Acari: Ixodida: Argasidae) parasitizing the frog Thoropa miliaris (Amphibia: Anura: Cycloramphidae) in Brazil.
ABSTRACT: Most argasid ticks from the Neotropical region are parasites of mammals and birds, with a few records from reptiles. Many species of the genus Ornithodoros are known only through larval descriptions, and their chaetotaxy and morphological characteristics have been used to separate the taxa. In the present study, we describe the larva and the nymph of first instar of a new species of the genus Ornithodoros that was collected from frogs of the species Thoropa miliaris.Larvae of Ornithodoros were collected from frogs of the species T. miliaris at waterfalls in the state of Rio de Janeiro, southeastern Brazil. The larval and nymphal description was based on optical and scanning electron microscopy. Molecular analysis using the argasid 16S rRNA sequences available in GenBank was also conducted.Ornithodoros faccinii sp. n. is closely related to Ornithodoros clarki Jones & Clifford, Ornithodoros marinkellei Kohls, Clifford & Jones, Ornithodoros capensis Neumann and Ornithodoros sawaii Kitaoka & Susuki. However, the larval morphology of the new species is unique. The mitochondrial 16S rDNA partial sequence of O. faccinii generated in the present study was deposited in GenBank under the number KP861242.The larvae collected from Thoropa miliaris are a new species, Ornithodoros faccinii n. sp. This is the first report of argasid ticks on frogs in Brazil, the second on frogs and the third on Amphibia in the Neotropical region.
Project description:Argasid ticks include vectors of relapsing fevers caused by Borrelia spp. in humans, and they can transmit arboviruses and other bacterial pathogens. Knowledge about soft ticks (Ixodida: Argasidae) in Algeria is incomplete, and distribution data need to be updated. Here we report a series of entomologic investigations that we conducted in five different areas in Algeria between 2012 and 2015. Ticks were identified by entomologic keys and molecular tools (16S rRNA gene). Six distinct species belonging to two genera were identified, including Ornithodoros capensis s.s., Ornithodoros rupestris, Ornithodoros occidentalis, Ornithodoros erraticus, Ornithodoros sonrai and Argas persicus. The present study highlights the distribution of soft ticks, the establishment of an update inventory with nine species and associated pathogens detected in argasid ticks in Algeria.
Project description:Argasid ticks (Acari: Argasidae) carry and transmit a variety of pathogens of animals and humans, including viruses, bacteria and parasites. There are several studies reporting ixodid ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) and associated tick-borne pathogens in Xinjiang, China. However, little is known about the argasid ticks and argasid tick-associated pathogens in this area. In this study, a total of 3829 adult argasid ticks infesting livestock were collected at 12 sampling sites of 10 counties in the Peripheral Oases, which carry 90% of the livestock and humans population, around the Tarim Basin (southern Xinjiang) from 2013 to 2016. Tick specimens were identified to two species from different genera by morphology and sequences of mitochondrial 16S rRNA and 12S rRNA were derived to confirm the species designation. The results showed that the dominant argasid ticks infesting livestock in southern Xinjiang were Ornithodoros lahorensis (87.86%, 3364/3829). Ornithodoros lahorensis was distributed widely and were collected from 10 counties of southern Xinjiang. Argas japonicus was collected from Xinjiang for the first time. In addition, we screened these ticks for tick-associated pathogens and showed the presence of DNA sequences of Rickettsia spp. of Spotted fever group and Anaplasma spp. in the argasid ticks. This finding suggests the potential role for Argas japonicus as a vector of pathogens to livestock and humans.
Project description:The rock cavy Kerodon rupestris (Wied-Neuwied, 1820) is a rodent species endemic to northeastern Brazil. Earlier studies have associated the argasid tick Ornithodoros talaje (Guérin-Méneville, 1849) with rocky cavy; however, a recent study proposed that O. talaje is not established in Brazil, where previous reports of this species were possibly misidentifications of closely related species, yet to be properly determined. Here, we describe a new species of Ornithodoros Koch, 1844 associated with rock cavies in northeastern Brazil.During 2012-2013, Ornithodoros ticks were collected from K. rupestris resting places in Paraíba State (PB) and Piauí State (PI), northeastern Brazil. These ticks were brought alive to the laboratory, and used to form two laboratory colonies (PB and PI ticks). Field-collected adults and laboratory-reared larvae were used for morphological description through light and scanning electron microscopy. DNA sequences of the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene were generated from nymphal ticks and used to conduct phylogenetic analyses along with other Ornithodoros spp. sequences from GenBank. Reproductive compatibility of crosses between PB and PI adult ticks was evaluated, as well as analyses of hybrid ticks through larval morphology by a principal components analysis (PCA) and DNA sequences of the second internal transcribed spacer (ITS2) region from adult ticks.Morphological analysis allowed recognizing these ticks as a new species, Ornithodoros rietcorreai n. sp. The larva of O. rietcorreai is distinct from those of other Ornithodoros spp. by the combination of the following character states: 14 pairs of dorsal setae, dorsal plate pyriform, hypostome with pointed apex and dental formula 3/3 anteriorly, 2/2 posteriorly, and anal valves with long and pointed leaf-shaped ends. There were a few larval morphological differences between PB and PI ticks, and their mitochondrial 16S rDNA sequences diverged by 3.3 %. On the other hand, cross-mating experiments showed that PB and PI ticks were reproductive compatible, indicating that they represent a single species. Analyses of ITS2 sequences and PCA corroborated this assumption.Ornithodoros rietcorreai is described as a new species associated with K. rupestris in Brazil, increasing the Brazilian tick fauna to 70 species.
Project description:Argasid ticks (soft ticks) are blood-feeding arthropods that can parasitize rodents, birds, humans, livestock and companion animals. Ticks of the Ornithodoros genus are known to be vectors of relapsing fever borreliosis in humans. In Algeria, little is known about relapsing fever borreliosis and other bacterial pathogens transmitted by argasid ticks.Between May 2013 and October 2015, we investigated the presence of soft ticks in 20 rodent burrows, 10 yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis) nests and animal shelters in six locations in two different bioclimatic zones in Algeria. Six species of argasid ticks were identified morphologically and through 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The presence and prevalence of Borrelia spp., Bartonella spp., Rickettsia spp. and Anaplasmataceae was assessed by qPCR template assays in each specimen. All qPCR-positive samples were confirmed by standard PCR, followed by sequencing the amplified fragments. Two Borrelia species were identified: Borrelia hispanica in Ornithodoros occidentalis in Mostaganem, and Borrelia cf. turicatae in Carios capensis in Algiers. One new Bartonella genotype and one new Anaplasmataceae genotype were also identified in Argas persicus.The present study highlights the presence of relapsing fever borreliosis agents, although this disease is rarely diagnosed in Algeria. Other bacteria of unknown pathogenicity detected in argasid ticks which may bite humans deserve further investigation.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The presence in Morocco of Argasid ticks of the Ornithodoros erraticus complex, the vector of tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF) in North Africa, has been known since 1919, but the disease is rarely diagnosed and few epidemiological data are available. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Between 2006 and 2011, we investigated the presence of Ornithodoros ticks in rodent burrows in 34 sites distributed across Morocco. We also collected small mammals in 10 sites and we investigated TBRF in febrile patients in Kenitra district. The prevalence of Borrelia infections was assessed by nested PCR amplification in ticks and the brain tissue of small mammals, and by evaluation of thick blood films in patients. A high proportion of burrows were infested with ticks of the O. erraticus complex in all regions of Morocco, with a mean of 39.5% for the whole country. Borrelia infections were found in 39/382 (10.2%) of the ticks and 12/140 (8.6%) of the rodents and insectivores studied by PCR amplification, and 102 patients tested positive by thick blood film. Five small mammalian species were found infected: Dipodillus campestris, Meriones shawi, Gerbillus hoogstrali, Gerbillus occiduus and Atelerix algirus. Three Borrelia species were identified in ticks and/or rodents: B. hispanica, B. crocidurae and B. merionesi. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Tick populations belonging to O. erraticus complex are widely distributed in Morocco and a high proportion of ticks and small mammals are infected by Borrelia species. Although rarely diagnosed, TBRF may be a common cause of morbidity in all regions of Morocco.
Project description:Additional research on soft ticks in the family Argasidae is needed to bridge the knowledge gap relative to hard ticks of the family Ixodidae; especially, the molecular mechanisms of Ornithodoros biology. Ornithodoros species are vectors of human and animal pathogens that include tick-borne relapsing fever spirochetes and African swine fever virus. Soft tick vector-pathogen interactions involving components of the tick immune response are not understood. Ticks utilize a basic innate immune system consisting of recognition factors and cellular and humoral responses to produce antimicrobial peptides, like defensins. In the present study, we identified and characterized the first putative defensins of Ornithodoros turicata, an argasid tick found primarily in the southwestern United States and regions of Latin America. Four genes (otdA, otdB, otdC, and otdD) were identified through sequencing and their predicted amino acid sequences contained motifs characteristic of arthropod defensins. A phylogenetic analysis grouped these four genes with arthropod defensins, and computational structural analyses further supported the identification. Since pathogens transmitted by O. turicata colonize both the midgut and salivary glands, expression patterns of the putative defensins were determined in these tissues 1 week post engorgement and after molting. Defensin genes up-regulated in the tick midgut 1 week post blood feeding were otdA and otdC, while otdD was up-regulated in the midgut of post-molt ticks. Moreover, otdB and otdD were also up-regulated in the salivary glands of flat post-molt ticks, while otdC was up-regulated within 1 week post blood-feeding. This work is foundational toward additional studies to determine mechanisms of vector competence and pathogen transmission from O. turicata.
Project description:The presence of ticks inside human constructions was evaluated in two localities from Colon province (Charco La Piedra and Espinar) and one from Panama province (Ancon, City of Panama). In two of houses, eight people from Charco La Piedra and one from Ancón reported "insect bites," which produced blisters for several weeks. The investigation resulted in the collection of argasid ticks, which were identified by morphology and sequencing the 16s ribosomal RNA gene, and later evaluated for the presence of relapsing fever Borrelia DNA. All ticks were identified as Ornithodoros puertoricensis. While spirochetal DNA was not detected by PCR in the ticks, our report highlights the potential for relapsing fever borreliosis in rural and urban localities in Panama.
Project description:Tick-borne relapsing fever spirochetes are maintained in endemic foci that involve a diversity of small mammals and argasid ticks in the genus Ornithodoros. Most epidemiological studies of tick-borne relapsing fever in West Africa caused by Borrelia crocidurae have been conducted in Senegal. The risk for humans to acquire relapsing fever in Mali is uncertain, as only a few human cases have been identified. Given the high incidence of malaria in Mali, and the potential to confuse the clinical diagnosis of these two diseases, we initiated studies to determine if there were endemic foci of relapsing fever spirochetes that could pose a risk for human infection.We investigated 20 villages across southern Mali for the presence of relapsing fever spirochetes. Small mammals were captured, thin blood smears were examined microscopically for spirochetes, and serum samples were tested for antibodies to relapsing fever spirochetes. Ornithodoros sonrai ticks were collected and examined for spirochetal infection. In total, 11.0% of the 663 rodents and 14.3% of the 63 shrews tested were seropositive and 2.2% of the animals had active spirochete infections when captured. In the Bandiagara region, the prevalence of infection was higher with 35% of the animals seropositive and 10% infected. Here also Ornithodoros sonrai were abundant and 17.3% of 278 individual ticks tested were infected with Borrelia crocidurae. Fifteen isolates of B. crocidurae were established and characterized by multi-locus sequence typing.The potential for human tick-borne relapsing fever exists in many areas of southern Mali.
Project description:A new argasid species, belonging to the subgenus Ornithodoros, namely, Ornithodoros (Ornithodoros) huajianensis was described for the first time based on the females, males and nymphs. The morphological features of each stage in the life cycle are unique, making identification easy, but are similar to other species of the subgenus Ornithodoros. The new species was diagnosed by the broad rectangular tongue and triangular tongue-shaped posterior lip in the male genital apron, a shallow camerostome with definite folds and smaller mammillae with single seta mixed with larger ones in nymph and adults. The new species had been collected from the Mongolian marmots Marmota bobak sibirica in Huajian village, Gulang county, Gansu province, China. Data on the phylogenic position, hosts and geographic distribution are also provided.
Project description:African swine fever (ASF) is a frequently devastating hemorrhagic disease of domestic pigs and wild boar and Ornithodoros erraticus sensu stricto argasid ticks are the only biological vectors of African swine fever virus (ASFV) known to occur in Europe. Recently this disease emerged in Eastern Europe and Russian Federation, showing a huge potential for a rapid spread between countries. There is some risk of re-emergence of ASF in the countries where these ticks exist, that can contribute for the persistence of infection and compromise control measures. In this study we aimed to identify factors that determine the probability of infection and its dynamics in the tick vector Ornithodoros erraticus sensu stricto, with two Portuguese strains of ASFV. Our results suggest that these ticks have a high likelihood of excreting the two haemadsorbing ASF viruses of different host origins and that, in field surveys, the analysis of adults and 5th nymphal stage can provide the best chance of detecting virus infection. The results also indicate that infection of pigs with highly virulent ASF viruses will promote higher rates of infection and a higher likelihood for virus excretion by ticks. Nevertheless, there is also a risk, although lower, that ticks can become infected on pigs that have overcome the acute phase of infection, which was simulated in our study by membrane feeding ticks with low titres of virus. We believe these results can be valuable in designing and interpreting the results of ASF control programmes, and future work can also be undertaken as our dataset is released under open access, to perform studies in risk assessment for ASFV persistence in a region where O. erraticus sensu stricto ticks are present.