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Plasmodium parasites in reptiles from the Colombia Orinoco-Amazon basin: a re-description of Plasmodium kentropyxi Lainson R, Landau I, Paperna I, 2001 and Plasmodium carmelinoi Lainson R, Franco CM, da Matta R, 2010

Matta, NubiaE., González, LeydyP., Pacheco, M. Andreína, Escalante, AnaníasA., Moreno, AndreaM., González, AngieD., Calderón-Espinosa, MarthaL.
Parasitology research 2018 v.117 no.5 pp. 1357-1370
Plasmodium, altitude, basins, cytochrome b, genes, geographical distribution, herpetofauna, microscopy, mitochondria, mitochondrial genome, morphs, parasites, phylogeny, polymerase chain reaction, redescriptions, reptiles, species diversity, surveys, Colombia
Colombia is a megadiverse country with about 600 species of reptiles; however, there are few studies on species of hemoparasites found in this taxonomic group. Here, we document the presence of Plasmodium spp. in four species of reptiles from the northern part of the Orinoco-Amazon region in Colombia. Individuals analyzed in this study were captured in localities between 200 and 500 m altitude, in the department of Guaviare. Each sample was screened for haemosporidian parasites by using morphology and a nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) protocol that targets the mitochondrial cytochrome b (cytb) gene. Four morphotypes of the genus Plasmodium were found; two of these species are re-described using morphological and molecular data (cytb). For the other two morphotypes, it was not possible to assign a described species. Among those, Plasmodium screened one species was only detected by microscopy. Considering the potential species diversity, it is possible that commonly used primers may not detect all species, reinforcing the importance of using microscopy in haematozoa surveys. There was no correspondence between the morphological traits associated with the subgenera and the phylogenetic relationships that we found in our analyses. Additionally, we found an expansion in the geographical distribution of these two species, and a new host for P. kentropyxi, demonstrating that studies of tropical herpetofauna and their parasites deserve more attention.