DNA Barcoding Reveals Association of Glossiphoniidae Species on Endangered Freshwater Turtles in Northeast India



The identification of Glossiphoniidae species is often confusing due to the lack of both morphological and molecular data worldwide.


The study aimed to identify the collected leech specimens from two endangered freshwater turtles, Chitra indica and Pangshura sylhetensis from northeast India.


We generated DNA barcode sequences and estimated the genetic distances and phylogenetic relationship of the studied taxa with another 14 Glossiphoniidae genera (114 barcode sequences).


The high genetic distinctiveness (17.9 to 26.3%) and distinct clustering in Neighbor-Joining (NJ) phylogeny, we identified the studied specimens as Glossiphoniidae sp. We assumed that the studied specimens might be a new member of Glossiphoniidae or an extant species without DNA information.


Hence, the study recommends further sampling of leeches from the similar host as well as from same and various localities and also generates the molecular data to perceive the exact diversity. The aimed study is also helpful to encourage the awareness and conservation management of freshwater turtles and other threatened animals.

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We thank the Director, Zoological Survey of India, MoEF&CC for providing necessary research facilities and support. Authors acknowledge the research funding for this work from DST-SERB National Post-Doctoral Fellowship (F. no. PDF/2015/000302) to the first author S. K. The funders had no role in study design, data collection, and analysis or preparation of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Vikas Kumar.

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Kundu, S., Kumar, V., Tyagi, K. et al. DNA Barcoding Reveals Association of Glossiphoniidae Species on Endangered Freshwater Turtles in Northeast India. Acta Parasit. 64, 213–217 (2019). https://doi.org/10.2478/s11686-018-00023-7

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  • Freshwater leech
  • Testudines
  • Endangered
  • Molecular data
  • Phylogeny