Epidemiology of Sulcascaris sulcata (Nematoda: Anisakidae) ulcerous gastritis in the Mediterranean loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)
- 48 Downloads
Sulcascaris sulcata Rudolphi 1819 is a gastric nematode parasite of sea turtles. Here, we report the occurrence and describe for the first time the pathological changes caused by S. sulcata in the Mediterranean loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) stranded along the Tyrrhenian coast and northern Adriatic coast of Italy. Prevalence of infection was significantly higher in loggerhead sea turtles from the Adriatic Sea. Both prevalence and abundance of infection showed an increasing trend along with host age classes from both geographical localities. Nevertheless, while many small loggerhead sea turtles were found infected from the Adriatic Sea, only bigger individuals were infected from the Tyrrhenian Sea. The most common gross pathological change was a mucous gastritis with focal to multifocal raised ulcerous lesions roundish to irregular in shape ranging from 1 to over 20 cm in length, and cream-yellowish to greenish in color. The severity grade of gastritis increased with higher number of S. sulcata individuals. Microscopic pathological changes ranged from atrophic gastritis with heterophilic infiltration in the lamina propria to the destruction of the mucosal and sub-mucosal surfaces and necrosis. Results here obtained demonstrate that S. sulcata may cause ulcerous gastritis in both samples of loggerhead sea turtles studied from the Mediterranean Sea. Observed differences in S. sulcata infection among the different host age classes and between the two studied basins are likely linked to the differences of regional habitat and intermediate prey host availability.
KeywordsAscaridoidea Nematode parasite Pathological changes Parasitic gastritis Sea turtle Mediterranean Sea
We thank Dr. Lisa Poppi for precious collaboration in getting samples and pictures during the necropsies of the sea turtles from the Adriatic Sea and Giuseppe Di Vincenzo for assembling the figures of the manuscript.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Amato JFR, Amato SB (1982) Sulcascaris sulcata (Nematoda, Anisakinae) infecting sea scallops being exported from southeastern Brazil. Arq Univ Fed Rural Rio J 5(1):61–67Google Scholar
- Bolten AB (1999) Techniques for measuring sea turtles. In: Eckert KL, Bjorndal KA, Abreu-Grobois FA, Donnelly M (eds) Research and management techniques for the conservation of sea turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group, Washington DC, pp 110–114Google Scholar
- Deardorff TL (1989) Occurrence of larval Sulcascaris sulcata (Nematoda: Anisakidae) in the calico scallop, Argopecten gibbus, collected along the eastern coast of Florida, with comments on histopathology. Proc Helminthol Soc Wash 56(1):82–85Google Scholar
- Lichtenfels JR, Kern FG, Zwerner DE, Bier JW, Madden PA (1976) Anisakid nematodes in shellfish of Atlantic continental shelf of North America. Trans Am Microsc Soc 95:265–266Google Scholar
- Margaritoulis D, Argano R, Baran I, Bentivegna F, Bradai MN, Camiñas JA, Casale P, Demetrio G, Demetropoulos A, Gerosa G (2003) Loggerhead turtles in the Mediterranean Sea: present knowledge and conservation perspectives. In: Bolten AB, Witherington BE (eds) Loggerhead sea turtles. Smithsonian Books, Washington DC, pp 175–198Google Scholar
- Moeller RB (2001) Diseases of marine mammals. California animal. Health and food safety laboratory system, California, EUA, p.34Google Scholar
- Santoro M, Badillo FJ, Mattiucci S, Nascetti G, Bentivegna F, Insacco G, Travaglini A, Paoletti M, Kinsella JM, Tomás J, Raga JA, Aznar FJ (2010a) Helminth communities of loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) from central and western Mediterranean Sea: the importance of host’s ontogeny. Parasitol Int 59(3):367–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Santoro M, Di Nocera F, Iaccarino D, Lawton SP, Cerrone A, Degli Uberti B, D’Amore M, Affuso A, Hochscheid S, Maffucci F, Galiero G (2017) Pathology and molecular analysis of Hapalotrema mistroides (Digenea: Spirorchiidae) infecting a Mediterranean loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta. Dis Aquat Org 124(2):101–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Santoro M, Di Nocera F, Iaccarino D, Cipriani P, Guadano Procesi I, Maffucci F, Hochscheid S, Blanco C, Cerrone A, Galiero G, Nascetti G, Mattiucci S (2018) Helminth parasites of the dwarf sperm whale Kogia sima (Cetacea: Kogiidae) from the Mediterranean Sea, with implications on host ecology. Dis Aquat Org 129:175–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sey O (1977) Examination of helminth parasites of marine turtles caught along the Egyptian coast. Acta Zool Hung 23:387–394Google Scholar
- Werneck MR, Martos Thomazini C, Shigueru Mori E, Gonçalves VT, Gallo BMG, Da Silva RJ (2008) Gastrointestinal helminth parasites of loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta Linnaeus 1758 (Testudines, Cheloniidae) in Brazil. Pan-Ame J Aquat Sci 3(3):351–354Google Scholar