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Parasitol Int. 2016 Apr;65(2):163-70. doi: 10.1016/j.parint.2015.11.007. Epub 2015 Nov 24.

Distribution and molecular phylogeny of biliary trematodes (Opisthorchiidae) infecting native Lutra lutra and alien Neovison vison across Europe.

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School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Museum Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3AX, UK; Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College London, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG, UK. Electronic address:
School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Museum Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3AX, UK.
Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Centre, Chacewater, Cornwall TR4 8PB, UK.
Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Grenåvej 14, Kalø, DK-8410, Rønde, Denmark.
Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, PO Box 5685, Sluppen, NO-7485 Trondheim, Norway.
Groupe Mammalogique Breton, Maison de la Rivière, 29450 Sizun, France.
Department of Contaminant Research and Monitoring, Swedish Museum of Natural History, PO Box 50007, SE-104 05, Stockholm, Sweden.
VetAgro Sup, Campus Vétérinaire de Lyon, 1 Avenue Bourgelat, 69280 Marcy-l'etoile, France.
ALKA Wildlife, o.p.s., Lidéřovice 62, CZ-380 01 Peč, Czech Republic.
Charles University in Prague, Third Faculty of Medicine, Ruská 87, CZ-100 00 Prague 10, Czech Republic.


The recent identification of Pseudamphistomum truncatum, (Rudolphi, 1819) (Trematoda: Opisthorchiidae) and Metorchis bilis (Braun, 1790) Odening, 1962 (synonymous with Metorchis albidus (Braun, 1893) Loos, 1899 and Metorchis crassiusculus (Rudolphi, 1809) Looss, 1899 (Trematoda: Opisthorchiidae)) in otters from Britain caused concern because of associated biliary damage, coupled with speculation over their alien status. Here, we investigate the presence, intensity and phylogeny of these trematodes in mustelids (principally otters) across Europe (Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Poland and Sweden and Britain). The trematodes were identified to species using the internal transcribed spacer II (ITS2) locus. Both parasites were found across Europe but at unequal frequency. In the German state of Saxony, eight out of eleven (73%) otters examined were infected with P. truncatum whilst this parasite was not found in either mink from Scotland (n=40) or otters from Norway (n=21). Differences in the phylogenies between the two species suggest divergent demographic histories possibly reflecting contrasting host diet or competitive exclusion, with M. bilis exhibiting greater mitochondrial diversity than P. truncatum. Shared haplotypes within the ranges of both parasite species probably reflect relatively unrestricted movements (both natural and anthropogenic) of intermediate and definitive hosts across Europe.


American mink; Eurasian otter; Gene flow; Introduced species; Trematode distribution

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