Folia Parasitologica 61 255-265 (2014) | 10.14411/fp.2014.037
This study investigates the identity of hookworms parasitising the Australian sea lion, Neophoca cinerea (Péron), from three colonies in South Australia, Australia. The Australian sea lion is at risk of extinction because its population is small and genetically fragmented. Using morphological and molecular techniques, we describe a single novel species, Uncinaria sanguinis sp. n. (Nematoda: Ancylostomatidae). The new species is most similar to hookworms also parasitic in otariid hosts, Uncinaria lucasi Stiles, 1901 and Uncinaria hamiltoni Baylis, 1933. Comparative morphometrics offered limited utility for distinguishing between species within this genus whilst morphological features and differences in nuclear ribosomal DNA sequences delineated U. sanguinis sp. n. from named congeners. Male specimens of U. sanguinis sp. n. differ from U. lucasi and U. hamiltoni by relatively shorter anterolateral and externodorsal rays, respectively, and from other congeners by the relative lengths and angulations of bursal rays, and in the shape of the spicules. Female specimens of U. sanguinis sp. n. are differentiated from Uncinaria spp. parasitic in terrestrial mammals by differences in vulval anatomy and the larger size of their eggs, although are morphologically indistinguishable from U. lucasi and U. hamiltoni. Molecular techniques clearly delimited U. sanguinis sp. n. as a distinct novel species. Obtaining baseline data on the parasites of wildlife hosts is important for the investigation of disease and the effective implementation and monitoring of conservation management.
Received: November 1, 2013; Accepted: January 30, 2014; Prepublished online: April 7, 2014; Published: June 19, 2014