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Experimental and Applied Acarology

, Volume 72, Issue 1, pp 69–77 | Cite as

Molecular investigations of the bat tick Argas vespertilionis (Ixodida: Argasidae) and Babesia vesperuginis (Apicomplexa: Piroplasmida) reflect “bat connection” between Central Europe and Central Asia

  • Sándor Hornok
  • Krisztina Szőke
  • Tamás Görföl
  • Gábor Földvári
  • Vuong Tan Tu
  • Nóra Takács
  • Jenő Kontschán
  • Attila D. Sándor
  • Péter Estók
  • Sara Epis
  • Sándor Boldogh
  • Dávid Kováts
  • Yuanzhi Wang
Article

Abstract

Argas vespertilionis is a geographically widespread haematophagous ectoparasite species of bats in the Old World, with a suspected role in the transmission of Babesia vesperuginis. The aims of the present study were (1) to molecularly screen A. vespertilionis larvae (collected in Europe, Africa and Asia) for the presence of piroplasms, and (2) to analyze mitochondrial markers of A. vespertilionis larvae from Central Asia (Xinjiang Province, Northwestern China) in a phylogeographical context. Out of the 193 DNA extracts from 321 A. vespertilionis larvae, 12 contained piroplasm DNA (10 from Hungary, two from China). Sequencing showed the exclusive presence of B. vesperuginis, with 100% sequence identity between samples from Hungary and China. In addition, A. vespertilionis cytochrome oxidase c subunit 1 (cox1) and 16S rRNA gene sequences had 99.1–99.2 and 99.5–100% similarities, respectively, between Hungary and China. Accordingly, in the phylogenetic analyses A. vespertilionis from China clustered with haplotypes from Europe, and (with high support) outside the group formed by haplotypes from Southeast Asia. This is the first molecular evidence on the occurrence of B. vesperuginis in Asia. Bat ticks from hosts in Vespertilionidae contained only the DNA of B. vesperuginis (in contrast with what was reported on bat ticks from Rhinolophidae and Miniopteridae). Molecular taxonomic analyses of A. vespertilionis and B. vesperuginis suggest a genetic link of bat parasites between Central Europe and Central Asia, which is epidemiologically relevant in the context of any pathogens associated with bats.

Keywords

Chiroptera Argas Soft tick Babesia Phylogeography 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The study was organized in the frame of EurNegVec COST Action TD1303. Financial support was provided by OTKA K115854, OTKA K112440 and Domus Hungarica. G. F. was supported by the János Bolyai Research Scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sándor Hornok
    • 1
  • Krisztina Szőke
    • 1
  • Tamás Görföl
    • 2
  • Gábor Földvári
    • 1
  • Vuong Tan Tu
    • 3
  • Nóra Takács
    • 1
  • Jenő Kontschán
    • 4
  • Attila D. Sándor
    • 5
  • Péter Estók
    • 6
  • Sara Epis
    • 7
  • Sándor Boldogh
    • 8
  • Dávid Kováts
    • 9
  • Yuanzhi Wang
    • 10
  1. 1.Department of Parasitology and ZoologyUniversity of Veterinary MedicineBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyHungarian Natural History MuseumBudapestHungary
  3. 3.Institute of Ecology and Biological ResourcesVietnam Academy of Science and TechnologyHanoiVietnam
  4. 4.Plant Protection Institute, Centre for Agricultural ResearchHungarian Academy of SciencesBudapestHungary
  5. 5.Department of Parasitology and Parasitic DiseasesUniversity of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary MedicineCluj-NapocaRomania
  6. 6.Department of ZoologyEszterházy Károly UniversityEgerHungary
  7. 7.Department of BiosciencesUniversity of MilanMilanItaly
  8. 8.Department of Nature ConservationAggtelek National Park DirectorateJósvafőHungary
  9. 9.Department of Evolutionary Zoology and Human BiologyUniversity of DebrecenDebrecenHungary
  10. 10.Department of Pathogenic BiologySchool of Medicine, Shihezi UniversityShiheziChina

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