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Degree of associations among vectors of the genus Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) and host bird species with respect to haemosporidian parasites in NE Bulgaria

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Abstract

The occurrence of haemosporidians in biting midges of the genus Culicoides is examined in North-East Bulgaria in order to reveal their potential role for parasite transmission. A PCR-based technique amplifying part of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene of the parasite is applied on naturally infected biting midges. Totally, 640 parous individuals of four species and 95 blood-fed individuals of six species of Culicoides are examined for the presence of DNA of haemosporidians. Haemosporidian genetic lineages are identified in individuals of three insect species: Culicoides alazanicus (12 lineages, nine lineages of Haemoproteus and three lineages of Plasmodium), Culicoides festivipennis and Culicoides circumscriptus (with two and one lineages of Haemoproteus, respectively). Two genetic lineages of Haemoproteus are recorded in more than one vector species. These results demonstrate variations in the specificity of Haemoproteus genetic lineages to their potential vectors, since some lineages are recorded in a single vector species and others occur in two or more vector species.

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Acknowledgments

This study is report no. 55 of the Kalimok Field Station. We acknowledge Dr. Bruno Mathieu (University of Strasbourg) and Dr. Alexander Mathis (University of Zürich) for their contribution to the identification of Culicoides biting midges. We are grateful to Dr. Staffan Bensch from Lund University, to Dr. Boyko Georgiev from the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research—BAS and to Dr. Ognyan Mikov from the National Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases for the valuable suggestions during the course of the present study. The authors are grateful to the staff of Kalimok Field Station, Boyko Neov and Christoffer Sjöholm for their support with the collection of insects and to Nikola Bankov for his help with the laboratory work. Facilities developed in the frames of the projects WETLANET (FP7 CAPACITIES Grant 229802), CEBDER (National Science Fund, Ministry of Education, Youth and Science of the Republic of Bulgaria, Grant DO 02-15/2009) and “Development of scientific potential in the field of faunistic diversity and environment protection” (funded by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science and the European Social Fund, Operational Program “Human Resources Development”, Grant BG 051 PO001-3.3.04/41) were used in the course of the present study.

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Bobeva, A., Ilieva, M., Dimitrov, D. et al. Degree of associations among vectors of the genus Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) and host bird species with respect to haemosporidian parasites in NE Bulgaria. Parasitol Res 113, 4505–4511 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-014-4140-1

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