- Molecular phylogenetic assessment of host range in five Dermanyssus species
- Experimental and Applied Acarology
- Volume | Issue number
- 48 | 1-2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Given that 14 out of the 25 currently described species of Dermanyssus Dugès, 1834, are morphologically very close to each another, misidentifications may occur and are suspected in at least some records. One of these 14 species is the red fowl mite, D. gallinae (De Geer, 1778), a blood parasite of wild birds, but also a pest in the poultry industry. Using molecular phylogenetic tools we aimed to answer two questions concerning host specificity and synanthropicity: (1) is D. gallinae the only species infesting European layer farms?, and (2) can populations of D. gallinae move from wild to domestic birds and vice versa? Mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I gene sequences were obtained from 73 Dermanyssus populations collected from nests of wild European birds and from poultry farms and these were analyzed using maximum parsimony and Bayesian inference. Mapping of the observed host range on the obtained topology and correlation with behavioural observations revealed that (1) host range is strongly dependent on some ecological parameters (e.g. nest hygiene, exposure to pesticides and predators), that (2) out of five species under test, synanthropic populations were found only in lineages of D. gallinae, and that (3) at least some haplotypes found in wild birds were very close to those found in association with domestic birds.
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