Blood parasites infecting the Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin), a unique neotropical folivorous bird
Alexandra García-Amado, M
Differential white blood cell
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/4600
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Abstract© 2019 Pacheco et al. The Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin) is the only extant member of the order Opisthocomiformes. This unique South American bird lives in the riparian lowland vegetation characteristic of the Amazon and Orinoco basins. Hoatzins nest in communal social units close to water bodies; they are strictly folivores being the only bird with pregastric fermentation in the crop. Because of the complex logistics involved in capturing this bird, there is a knowledge gap on its parasites. This study documents two distant lineages of haemosporidian parasites (Plasmodium spp.) in a juvenile and two adults sampled in the Cojedes state, Venezuela. Although negative by microscopy, the parasite identification was possible by using molecular methods. We estimated the phylogenetic relationships on the parasite cytochrome b (cytb, 480 bp) gene and the mitochondrial DNA. We found one of the parasites lineages in two individuals (nestling and adult), and the corresponding fragment of cytb was identical to a one found in Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) from Brazil. The other lineage, found in an adult, has an identity of 469 out of 478 bp (98%) with Plasmodium sp. GAL-2012 (isolate THAMB08) from Brazil. Although a morphological description of these parasites was not possible, this is the first molecular study focusing on Hoatzin haemosporidian parasites and the first documentation of Plasmodium infections in the Hoatzin from Venezuela. Furthermore, we reported microfilaria in two adults as well as hematological parameters for six individuals. Information on hematological parameters could contribute to establishing the necessary baseline to detect underlying conditions, such as infections, in this bird species.
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