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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2008

Genetic differences in internal transcribed spacer 1 between Dermanyssus gallinae from wild birds and domestic chickens

Brannstrom, S.; Morrison, D. A.; Mattsson, J. G.; Chirico, J.


We investigated the presence of the poultry red mite or the chicken mite, Dermanyssus gallinae De Geer, Acari: Dermanyssidae, in wild bird populations in four different geographical regions of Sweden. The mites identified as D. gallinae were compared genetically with D. gallinae from egg-producing poultry farms in the same regions. The small subunit (SSU) gene, the 5.8S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene and the two internal transcribed spacers (ITS) of the rRNA genes were used in the genetic analysis. All D. gallinae mites had identical SSU rRNA, 5.8S rRNA and ITS2 sequences independent of their origin. By contrast, we identified significant differences in the ITS1 sequences. Based on the differences in the ITS1 sequences, the mites could be divided into two genotypes, of wild and domesticated origin, with no variation within the groups. These results imply that wild bird populations are of low importance, if any, as natural reservoirs of D. gallinae in these four geographical regions of Sweden.


Dermanyssus gallinae; chicken; ectoparasite; genetic analysis; ITS1; reservoir host; ribosomal RNA; SSU

Published in

Medical and Veterinary Entomology
2008, Volume: 22, number: 2, pages: 152-155