Zoology Faculty Work


Distribution of Thelastomatoid Nematodes (Nematoda: Oxyurida) in Endemic and Introduced Cockroaches on the Galápagos Island Archipelago, Ecuador

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Journal of Parasitology

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The thelastomatoid pinworm fauna (Nematoda: Oxyurida: Thelastomatoidea) was surveyed in 3 endemic species and 6 introduced species of cockroach hosts (Insecta: Blattaria) in the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. A total of 658 host specimens were examined from preserved collections that had been collected between 1966 and 2003 from 7 islands in the archipelago. Eight species of pinworms were identified from these cockroach hosts, including the dominant species Cephalobellus ovumglutinosus and a Severianoia sp. as well as Leidynema appendiculata, Hammerschmidtiella diesingi, an unidentified Cephalobellus species resembling Cephalobellus magalhaesi, an unidentified Protrellus species closely resembling Protrellus shamimi, and an undescribed Blattophila sp. Five new host records are identified for C. ovumglutinosus including the endemic Galápagos cockroaches Chorisoneura carpenteri, Ischnoptera snodgrassii, and Ischnoptera santacruzensis. These endemics were also infected with an undescribed Blatticola sp. Other species recorded resemble known pinworms from other hosts around the world. Prevalence between islands and between host species was variable, but total prevalence for individual pinworm species was consistently low (<10%). A single host specimen examined was infected with more than 1 pinworm species; otherwise only a single species was observed in each infected host. At least 1 introduced pinworm species carried to the islands via invasive cockroach hosts was present in endemic host species, but several globally widespread introduced pinworm species were absent from endemic cockroaches. Santa Cruz was inhabited by the greatest number of pinworm species, likely due to a higher rate of invasive host introduction. This survey, the first from this region, showed that the distribution and transmission of pinworms in the Galápagos Islands is complex and may provide future models of invertebrate dispersal and speciation in an ecosystem already rich with examples of evolution.



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