Phylogenetic analysis of Hepatozoon spp. (Apicomplexa: Hepatozoidae) infecting Philodryas patagoniensis (Serpentes: Dipsadidae) in Uruguay


The purpose of this study was to perform a phylogenetic analysis of Hepatozoon spp. infecting Philodryas patagoniensis in Uruguay. Twenty-five road-killed specimens of P. patagoniensis from ten departments were obtained. Samples of blood and/or heart tissue were taken. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay was carried out amplifying a specific target region of the 18S rRNA gene of Hepatozoon spp. Eighteen out of twenty-five samples were positive to Hepatozoon spp., which gave an overall prevalence of 72%. Phylogenetic analyses with the obtained sequences were carried out to determine the relationship with closely related species found in the region. The results revealed that samples were split into two clades with a high bootstrap support. Clade I was formed with Hepatozoon spp. sequences obtained in this study from P. patagoniensis, Hepatozoon cuestensis from Crotalus durissus terrificus and Hepatozoon musa from Philodryas nattereri, and Hepatozoon spp. retrieved from Cerdocyon thous, Hemidactylus mabouia, and Phyllopezus pollicaris from Brazil, respectively. Clade II was grouped with Hepatozoon cevapii and Hepatozoon massardii, both species described for C. d. terrificus from Brazil. This is the first report of Hepatozoon spp. in snakes from Uruguay.

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We are grateful to Martín Martinicorena and Mauricio Burutarán for providing some of the samples. Thanks to the two anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions that greatly improve the quality of our manuscript.

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Correspondence to José M. Venzal.

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Bazzano, V., Félix, M.L., Parodi, P. et al. Phylogenetic analysis of Hepatozoon spp. (Apicomplexa: Hepatozoidae) infecting Philodryas patagoniensis (Serpentes: Dipsadidae) in Uruguay. Parasitol Res (2020) doi:10.1007/s00436-020-06605-7

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  • Hepatozoon
  • Philodryas patagoniensis
  • Phylogenetic analysis
  • Uruguay