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Molecular analysis of cox-1 and 18S rRNA gene fragments of Eimeria species isolated from endangered grouse: capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) and black grouse (Tetrao tetrix)

Stenzel, Tomasz, Dziewulska, Daria, Michalczyk, Maria, Ławreszuk, Dorota B., Koncicki, Andrzej
Parasitology research 2019 v.118 no.2 pp. 461-468
Eimeria innocua, Lyrurus tetrix, Phasianus colchicus, Tetrao urogallus, aviaries, breeding, coccidiosis, endangered species, extinction, feces, genes, grouse, oocysts, phylogeny, ribosomal DNA, ribosomal RNA, risk, Eurasia, Poland, Russia
This paper is the first record describing the molecular analysis of Eimeria species occurring in capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) and black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) which inhabit northern Eurasia and are species critically endangered of extinction. Actions undertaken to protect endangered species, such as breeding individuals in closed aviaries, could allow saving those birds, but they also pose risk of accidental healing of invasive diseases, like coccidiosis. Therefore, an investigation was conducted on fecal samples collected from the capercaillies and black grouse originating from the Kirov region (Russia) and breeding centers located in Poland. Results indicate that the average prevalence of Eimeria revealed 72% (average OPG = 3548) and 80% (average OPG = 5220) in capercaillies and black grouse respectively. Most of the Eimeria spp. oocysts were non-sporulated; however, two different morphological types were observed. The phylogenetic analysis of cox-1 and 18S rRNA genes revealed the analyzed Eimeria sequences to belong to two species. In addition, it showed some similarities between both analyzed genes. Most of the sequences obtained from both grouse species coccidia belonged to one species partially homologous to the Eimeria spp. isolated from ring-necked pheasant (approx. 94 and 96% for cox-1 and 18S rRNA genes, respectively). Two strains isolated from capercaillies imported from Russia were related to turkey coccidia: E. innocua and E. dispersa (97–99% homology) in the cox-1 gene analysis and only one of them was related to those Eimeria species in the 18S rRNA gene analysis (98–99% homology).