Publication on the identification of gastropods of parasitological concern for pets in Greece.

Intermediate gastropod hosts of major feline cardiopulmonary nematodes in an area of wildcat and domestic cat sympatry in Greece

Dimitris Dimzas, Simone Morelli, Donato Traversa, Angela Di Cesare, Yoo Ree Van Bourgonie, Karin Breugelmans, Thierry Backeljau, Antonio Frangipane di Regalbono & Anastasia Diakou
Parasites & Vectors volume 13, Article number: 345 (2020). DOI: 10.1186/s13071-020-04213-z

The metastrongyloid nematodes Aelurostrongylus abstrusus, Troglostrongylus brevior and Angiostrongylus chabaudi are cardiopulmonary parasites affecting domestic cats (Felis catus) and wildcats (Felis silvestris). Although knowledge on these nematodes has been improved in the past years, gaps in our knowledge of their distribution and role of gastropods as intermediate hosts in Europe still exist. This study reports on the presence of these nematodes and their intermediate hosts in an area in Greece where domestic cats and wildcats occur in sympatry.

Terrestrial gastropods were collected in the field and identified morphologically and by mitochondrial DNA-sequence analysis. Metastrongyloid larvae were detected by artificial digestion, morphologically identified to the species and stage level and their identity was molecularly confirmed.

Aelurostrongylus abstrusus was found in the snails Massylaea vermiculata and Helix lucorum, T. brevior in the slug Tandonia sp., and A. chabaudi in the slug Limax sp. and the snails H. lucorum and M. vermiculata.

To the best of our knowledge this study provides the first reports of (i) terrestrial gastropods being naturally infected with A. chabaudi, (ii) T. brevior naturally infecting terrestrial gastropods in Europe, and (iii) A. abstrusus naturally infecting terrestrial gastropods in Greece. Furthermore, the present study describes for the first time developmental stages of A. chabaudi and T. brevior in naturally infected gastropods. The biological characteristics of various intermediate gastropod hosts that could influence the distribution and expansion of feline cardiopulmonary nematodes are discussed, along with epizootiological implications and perspectives.

More details on the project and  information on the collaboration of BopCo with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki can be found on the project page.

Thu, 2020-07-23 14:56 -- BopCo
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