Folia Parasitologica, vol. 59 (2012), issue 4

Folia Parasitologica 59[4] 279-286 (2012) | DOI: 10.14411/fp.2012.039

A new species of Australotaenia (Cestoda: Proteocephalidea) from a snake in Cambodia: host switching or postcyclic parasitism in a distant region?

Alainde Chambrier1, Tomáš Scholz2
1 Department of Invertebrates, Natural History Museum, P.O. Box 6434, CH-1211 Geneva 6, Switzerland
2 Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Branišovská 31, 370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic

Australotaenia de Chambrier et de Chambrier, 2010 has been proposed to accommodate two species of proteocephalidean cestodes from hylid frogs (Litoria spp.) in Australia. Recently, apparently congeneric cestode, for which the name A. bunthangi sp. n. is proposed, was found in the homalopsid snake Enhydris enhydris (Schneider) (Serpentes: Homalopsidae) from South-East Asia (Cambodia). This finding indicates a much wider range of definitive hosts of species of this genus, i.e. amphibians and reptiles, which is exceptional among proteocephalideans. Postcyclic parasitism, i.e. predation of the definitive host infected with sexually mature parasites, cannot be excluded but does not seem to be probable. In addition, the occurrence of A. bunthangi in the former Indochina extends the range of the geographical distribution of the genus to another zoogeographical region. The new species differs from both species of Australotaenia in the relative size of an apical organ, the diameter of which equals to that of suckers (versus much smaller in the remaining species, in which the width of the apical organ represents less than 2/3 of the diameter of the suckers), much smaller scolex and suckers (width 150 μm and diameter of suckers 50-55 μm versus 245-420 μm and 100-140 μm, respectively), and longer body (224 mm versus 57-121 mm). In addition, A. bunthangi differs from A. hylae (Johnston, 1912) (type-species of the genus) by the number of testes (46-64 versus 74-106 in A. hylae) and by the ovary width/proglottis width ratio (55-65% versus 68-71% in A. hylae). Australotaenia bunthangi differs from A. grobeli de Chambrier et de Chambrier, 2010 by relative size of the cirrus-sac (its length represents 18-24% of the width of the proglottis versus 27-33% in A. grobeli) and by the diameter of the embryophore (25-27 µm versus 18-23 µm in A. grobeli).

Keywords: taxonomy, zoogeography, tapeworms, helminths, Reptilia, South East Asia, Indomalayan Region

Received: August 21, 2012; Accepted: September 7, 2012; Published: December 1, 2012


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