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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Large lungworms (Nematoda: Dictyocaulidae) recovered from the European bison may represent a new nematode subspecies

Pyziel, Anna M.; Laskowski, Zdzislaw; Dolka, Izabella; Kolodziej-Sobocinska, Marta; Nowakowska, Julita; Klich, Daniel; Bielecki, Wojciech; Zygowska, Marta; Moazzami, Madeleine; Anusz, Krzysztof; Hoglund, Johan


Although the Dictyocaulus lungworm, the agent of dictyocaulosis, is one of parasitological threats to European bison, its systematic position remains unclear. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the morphological features of the lungworm and the pathological lesions it induces, and to analyse mitochondrial (mt) genetic markers for systematic and molecular epidemiological studies. The morphological findings indicate that Dictyocaulus lungworms of European bison can be distinguished from those of cattle on the basis of differences in buccal capsule wall length, total body length, and spicules length in males, all of which were significantly longer in those of European bison. Nucleotide diversity calculated from pairwise sequence alignments of partial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1), cytochrome B (cytB) and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 (nad5) of specimens from cattle and European bison varied from 1.7% for nad5, 2.1% for cytB, to 3.7% for cox1 gene. Thus, among the lungworms of European bison and cattle, nad5 and cytB were the most conserved proteins, whereas coxl was the most diverse. The mt cytB marker gene may be a suitable candidate for distinguishing between the two genotypes, as nad5 demonstrated the greatest within-genus sequence variation. The lung tissue of infected European bison manifests signs of verminous pneumonia characterized by interstitial pneumonia, bronchitis and bronchiolitis. Therefore, it appears that European bison and cattle are infected with slightly diverged, morphologically-different, genotypes of D. viviparus, indicating they belong to two separate worm populations. We propose, therefore, that the lungworm of European bison should be classified as D. viviparus subsp. bisontis.


Dictyocaulus viviparus; Bison bonasus; Morphological description; Verminous pneumonia; Mitochondrial genetic markers

Published in

International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife
2020, volume: 13, pages: 213-220
Publisher: ELSEVIER

Authors' information

Pyziel, Anna M.
Warsaw University of Life Sciences
Laskowski, Zdzislaw
Polish Academy of Sciences
Dolka, Izabella
Warsaw University of Life Sciences
Kolodziej-Sobocinska, Marta
Polish Academy of Sciences
Nowakowska, Julita
University of Warsaw
Klich, Daniel
Warsaw University of Life Sciences
Bielecki, Wojciech
Warsaw University of Life Sciences
Zygowska, Marta
Warsaw University of Life Sciences
Anusz, Krzysztof
Warsaw University of Life Sciences

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