Tick vectors of Cercopithifilaria bainae in dogs: Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato versus Ixodes ricinus
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Recently, dermal microfilariae of a Cercopithifilaria species (Spirurida, Onchocercidae), namely Cercopithifilaria bainae , were detected in dogs from several geographical areas of the Mediterranean basin. Evidence from both laboratory and field studies support the role of the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato, as an intermediate host of this nematode. In the present study, we investigated the competence of Ixodes ricinus nymphs as vectors of C. bainae. On November 2012, fully engorged nymphs of I. ricinus (n = 174) and R. sanguineus s.l. (n = 10) were collected from a dog infected by C. bainae. The presence of C. bainae in I. ricinus was assessed by both microscopic dissection of specimens and detection of nematode DNA (PCR), at days 3, 10, 20 and 30 (T1–T4) post-collection; due to the small number of specimens available, R. sanguineus s.l. were examined using the same methods at T4 only. No developing larva of C. bainae was detected in I. ricinus specimens at different time points (T1–T4), even if four of these specimens were PCR-positive at T1. Seven out of ten R. sanguineus s.l. were positive for C. bainae third-stage larvae (L3) at both microscopical and molecular analysis at T4. This study indicates that C. bainae does not develop in I. ricinus nymphs, which preclude the role of this tick as an intermediate host of this parasite. Data presented herein provide new insights into the biology of this filarioid species and will lead to a better understanding of the role of different tick species as vectors of nematodes.