Prevalence and genetic diversity of avian haemosporidian parasites at an intersection point of bird migration routes: Sultan Marshes National Park, Turkey

Çiloğlu A. , Gürsoy Ergen A., İnci A. , Dik B., Düzlü Ö. , Önder Z. , ...Daha Fazla

ACTA TROPICA, cilt.210, 2020 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier identifier


Avian haemosporidians (Haemosporida) represent a globally distributed, species-rich multiparasite-multihost host-parasite system. Each year, many of these parasite lineages are carried between temperate and tropical regions by migratory birds. While several factors can limit the transmission of avian haemosporidians to new areas, recent studies have shown that some abundant parasites can sometimes disperse and be transmitted in new areas to become emerging infectious diseases. In this study, we investigated the prevalence and diversity of avian haemosporidian parasites in Sultan Marshes National Park (SMNP), a major stopover site in the eastern Mediterranean flyway, and we evaluated the potential for avian haemosporidians in SMNP to be transmitted to areas outside of their known distributions. We sampled a total of 565 migratory and resident birds belonging to 39 species and 23 families. We applied both molecular and microscopic methods to detect and identify avian haemosporidian infections and also quantified the frequency of potential abortive infections. We identified a total of 52 different mitochondrial cytochrome b (cyt b) parasite lineages belonging to the genera Plasmodium (N = 12), Haemoproteus (N = 31), and Leucocytozoon (N = 9) in 193 (34.2%) infected birds. Ten of the lineages were reported for the first time. Our findings show that numerous parasite lineages are actively transmitted among resident bird species of SMNP. Our findings also revealed new parasite-host interactions while considering the role of possible abortive infections. The relatively high frequency of presumed abortive infections suggests that analyses of datasets generated only by PCR-based methods should be interpreted with caution. We also compared the prevalence and distribution of avian haemosporidian infections in both resident and migratory bird species and showed that haemosporidian prevalence was related to bird migratory behavior. The results of this study contribute to a better understanding of the ecological and genetic adaptations associated with changes in transmission areas of avian haemosporidian parasites.