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Diversity, Host Specialization, and Geographic Structure of Filarial Nematodes Infecting Malagasy Bats

Abstract : We investigated filarial infection in Malagasy bats to gain insights into the diversity of these parasites and explore the factors shaping their distribution. Samples were obtained from 947 individual bats collected from 52 sites on Madagascar and representing 31 of the 44 species currently recognized on the island. Samples were screened for the presence of micro-and macro-parasites through both molecular and morphological approaches. Phylo-genetic analyses showed that filarial diversity in Malagasy bats formed three main groups, the most common represented by Litomosa spp. infecting Miniopterus spp. (Miniopteridae); a second group infecting Pipistrellus cf. hesperidus (Vespertilionidae) embedded within the Litomosoides cluster, which is recognized herein for the first time from Madagascar; and a third group composed of lineages with no clear genetic relationship to both previously described filarial nematodes and found in M. griveaudi, Myotis goudoti, Neoromicia matroka (Vespertilionidae), Otomops madagascariensis (Molossidae), and Paratriaenops furculus (Hipposideridae). We further analyzed the infection rates and distribution pattern of Litomosa spp., which was the most diverse and prevalent filarial taxon in our sample. Filarial infection was disproportionally more common in males than females in Miniopterus spp., which might be explained by some aspect of roosting behavior of these cave-dwelling bats. We also found marked geographic structure in the three Litomosa clades, mainly linked to bioclimatic conditions rather than host-parasite associations. While this study demonstrates distinct patterns of filarial nematode infection in Malagasy bats and highlights potential drivers of associated geographic distributions, future work should focus on their alpha taxon-omy and characterize arthropod vectors.
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Submitted on : Thursday, January 28, 2016 - 6:55:35 AM
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Beza Ramasindrazana, Koussay Dellagi, Erwan Lagadec, Milijaona Randrianarivelojosia, Steven Goodman, et al.. Diversity, Host Specialization, and Geographic Structure of Filarial Nematodes Infecting Malagasy Bats. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2016, ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0145709⟩. ⟨hal-01263644⟩



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