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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter December 28, 2016

The genetic structure of hypoderatid mites (Actinotrichida: Astigmata) parasitizing great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) during host post-breeding dispersal in Milicz, SW Poland

Natalia Szudarek, Gerard Kanarek and Jacek Dabert
From the journal Acta Parasitologica


The astigmatid family Hypoderatidae includes over 80 mite species exhibiting peculiar life cycle. Deutonymphs are parasitic instars inhabiting subcutaneous or visceral tissues of birds and rodents, while all other instars are nidicolous forms. In this study we investigated genetic diversity of deutonymphs of two hypoderatid species, Neottialges evansi and Phalacrodectes gaudi, collected from 16 individuals of the great cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo in SW Poland during host post-breeding dispersal. The initial alternative hypotheses were: (1) populations of deutonymphs in both mite species found in tissues of particular bird individuals form genetically distinct populations, (2) mites are panmictic among hosts. The topologies of NJ phylogenetic trees and median-joining haplotype networks reconstructed for COI haplotypes revealed lack of hostdependent genetic structure in populations of N. evansi and P. gaudi. Furthermore, high haplotype diversity (Hd) and low nucleotide diversity (Pi) prove high genetic differentiation of both mite species. We concluded, that unlimited dispersal of mites among cormorant specimens could be explained by host specific breeding behavior: free mating between cormorants originating from different European populations and low contribution of reunited pairs in breeding colonies in subsequent breeding seasons, reuse of the same nest material by different members of the colony, and host behavior called prospecting.


We would like to express our deep gratitude to Eberhard Wurst, Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, Frankfurt, Germany for making it possible for us to cite his unpublished observations concerning the life cycle of Neottialges evansi and Phalacrodectes gaudi. We thank Miroslawa Dabert, Molecular Biology Techniques Laboratory, AMU, Poznan, Poland for her help in molecular analyses and valuable comments on the MS. We would like also to show our gratitude to Przemyslaw Chylarecki, Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland for providing us with important information about breeding behavior of cormorants.


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Received: 2016-6-8
Revised: 2016-8-17
Accepted: 2016-10-6
Published Online: 2016-12-28
Published in Print: 2017-3-1

© 2016 W. Stefański Institute of Parasitology, PAS

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