Avian haemosporidians in the cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) from central-western and southern Africa: high diversity and prevalence

Villar Couto, Cynthia M., Cumming, Graeme S., Lacorte, Gustavo, Congrains, Carlos, Izbicki, Rafael, Braga, Erika Martins, Rocha, Cristiano D., Moralez-Silva, Emmanuel, Henry, Dominic A.W., Manu, Shiiwua A., Abalaka, Jacinta, Regalla, Aissa, da Silva, Alfredo Simao, Diop, Moussa S., and Del Lama, Silvia N. (2019) Avian haemosporidians in the cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) from central-western and southern Africa: high diversity and prevalence. PLoS One, 14 (2). e0212425.

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We described the geographic distribution of 82 haemosporidian lineages (Plasmodium, Haemoproteus, and Leucocytozoon) in the cattle egret sampled in five countries in central-western and southern Africa. Seventy-three lineages have not previously been reported. We determined the prevalence of three haemosporidians in the samples. We investigated the influence of the internal environment of the host and environmental variables on the Plasmodium diversity and whether environmental variables may explain spatial variations in the prevalence of Plasmodium. We screened DNA from 509 blood samples from nestlings in 15 African colonies for infection by sequencing the cytochrome b gene of parasites. The molecular phylogenetic analysis was performed using Bayesian methods and including sequences from the MalAvi and GeneBank databases. We found 62 new Plasmodium lineages in a clade with MYCAME02, which is a lineage described in waterbirds and recently identified in birds of prey as Plasmodium paranucleophilum. Two Haemoproteus lineages identified in cattle egret formed a distinct group with Haemoproteus catharti and MYCAMH1 (Haemoproteus spp.). Seven Leucocytozoon lineages found in the cattle egret clustered with Leucocytozoon californicus. We found different Plasmodium diversities among the colonies sampled, demonstrating that the internal environment of the host is not the primary determinant of diversity. A linear mixed-effects multivariate model showed that precipitation was positively associated with Plasmodium diversity when controlling for the effects of temperature, colony composition (mixed and non-mixed species) and country. Moreover, a generalized mixed model showed that temperature was positively associated with the prevalence of Plasmodium when controlling for precipitation, elevation and country. We conclude that the cattle egret is a good model for future haemosporidian studies, as we found a significant number of new lineages in this host, which occupies regions with different climate characteristics where environmental variables exert an influence on the diversity and prevalence of Plasmodium.

Item ID: 57540
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Copyright Information: © 2019 Villar Couto et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funders: Fundacao de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de Sao Paulo (FAPESP)
Projects and Grants: FAPESP 2010/50406-5, FAPESP 2016/01673-7, FAPESP 2017/03363-8
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2019 07:39
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410402 Environmental assessment and monitoring @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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