Further characterisation of Leucocytozoon podargii in wild tawny frogmouths (Podargus strigoides) in Western Australia

  • Yanjie Jiang
  • Belinda Brice
  • Mai Nguyen
  • Richmond Loh
  • Telleasha Greay
  • Robert Adlard
  • Una Ryan
  • Rongchang YangEmail author
Helminthology - Original Paper


The present study assessed the prevalence and morphology of Leucocytozoon podargii from wild tawny frogmouths (Podargus strigoides) in Western Australia (WA) and genetically characterised the cytochrome b gene (cyt b) of L. podargii in wild tawny frogmouths from WA and Queensland (QLD). The prevalence of L. podargii in wild tawny frogmouths from WA was 93.3% (14/15; 95% CI, 68.1–99.8%). The morphological characters of L. podargii from WA were similar to L. podargii from QLD: the gametocytes were round-oval shape, approximately 8–12 μm in diameter; the macrogametocytes were 12.4 μm in diameter; microgametocytes were 10.4 μm in diameter; and the ratio of macrogametocytes and microgametocytes was 3:2. Sequence analysis of partial cyt b gene fragments revealed that L. podargii sequences isolated from wild tawny frogmouths in WA shared the highest similarity (99.8% at nucleotide level and 100% at protein level) with L. podargii isolated from wild tawny frogmouths in QLD. The mitochondrial 18S rRNA gene of L. podargii gametocytes was quantified using droplet digital PCR (ddPCR), and the highest gametocyte load was detected in the lung. This finding corresponds to the results of the histological study. Based on the morphological and molecular studies, it was concluded that the Leucocytozoon parasite identified from wild tawny frogmouths in WA is consistent with L. podargii from wild tawny frogmouths in QLD, and the present study has genetically characterised two different L. podargii genotypes (QLD and WA) for the first time.


Haematozoa Leucocytozoon podargii Gametocytes Wild tawny frogmouth ddPCR Cytochrome b gene 



We are grateful to the veterinary staff at the Wattle Grove Veterinary Hospital, Perth, for their assistance in obtaining the blood samples and blood smears as well as the expert treatment and care of wildlife admitted to their clinic. The authors also wish to thank the volunteers at the Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre for caring for all the animals admitted to the centre.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yanjie Jiang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Belinda Brice
    • 3
  • Mai Nguyen
    • 4
  • Richmond Loh
    • 4
  • Telleasha Greay
    • 1
  • Robert Adlard
    • 5
  • Una Ryan
    • 1
  • Rongchang Yang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Veterinary and Life SciencesMurdoch UniversityMurdochAustralia
  2. 2.Jiangsu Academy of Agriculture SciencesNanjingChina
  3. 3.Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation CentreLesmurdieAustralia
  4. 4.Sustainability and Biosecurity, Department of Primary Industries and Regional DevelopmentSouth PerthAustralia
  5. 5.Queensland Museum NetworkSouth BrisbaneAustralia

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