Species of the genus Hepatozoon are the most common haemoparasites infecting snakes. High parasitemia of Hepatozoon can negatively impact snake fitness, growth rate and reproductive output. Given that snakes are a valuable source of traditional Chinese medicinal materials and food consumption, stresses the importance of conducting a study on snakes and its parasites. The present study investigated three kinds of snakes, Elaphe carinata, Naja atra and Ptyas mucosus from Wuhu, Anhui province, China. The results show that Hepatozoon sp.were only detected and characterized found in the snakes Elaphe carinata and Naja atra. Mature gamonts were generally long and elliptic, both ends obtuse and one end slightly pointed under the blood smear examinations. Morphological comparison of parasitized and non-parasitized erythrocytes showed that most analyzed features were significantly different for both linear and area dimensions. The sequences of 18S rRNA gene of Hepatozoon sp. were amplified, cloned and demonstrated the homology and the variation. Phylogenetic analysis based on the 18S rRNA gene analyzed in the present study together with other published Hepatozoon species showed that there is no significant difference in the geographical distribution and limited host specificity. This is the first time to report the infection of Hepatozoon sp. in Naja atra for the endemic species in Chinaand increases the number of known host species. Morphological and molecular analysis of Hepatozoon sp. establishes a basis for identification of the genera Hepatozoon, increasing protection and prevention of parasitic diseases of snakes.
To share on other social networks, click on any share button. What are these?