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      Biological compatibility between two temperate lineages of brown dog ticks, Rhipicephalus sanguineus ( sensu lato)


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          The brown dog tick Rhipicephalus sanguineus ( sensu stricto) is reputed to be the most widespread tick of domestic dogs worldwide and has also been implicated in the transmission of many pathogens to dogs and humans. For more than two centuries, Rh. sanguineus ( s.s.) was regarded as a single taxon, even considering its poor original description and the inexistence of a type specimen. However, genetic and crossbreeding experiments have indicated the existence of at least two distinct taxa within this name: the so-called “temperate” and “tropical” lineages of Rh. sanguineus ( sensu lato). Recent genetic studies have also demonstrated the existence of additional lineages of Rh. sanguineus ( s.l.) in Europe and Asia. Herein, we assessed the biological compatibility between two lineages of Rh. sanguineus ( s.l.) found in southern Europe, namely Rhipicephalus sp. I (from Italy) and Rhipicephalus sp. II (from Portugal).


          Ticks morphologically identified as Rh. sanguineus ( s.l.) were collected in southern Portugal and southern Italy. Tick colonies were established and crossbreeding experiments conducted. Morphological, biological and genetic analyses were conducted.


          Crossbreeding experiments confirmed that ticks from the two studied lineages were able to mate and generate fertile hybrids. Hybrid adult ticks always presented the same genotype of the mother, confirming maternal inheritance of mtDNA. However, larvae and nymphs originated from Rhipicephalus sp. I females presented mtDNA genotype of either Rhipicephalus sp. I or Rhipicephalus sp. II, suggesting the occurrence of paternal inheritance or mitochondrial heteroplasmy. While biologically compatible, these lineages are distinct genetically and phenotypically.


          The temperate lineages of Rh. sanguineus ( s.l.) studied herein are biologically compatible and genetic data obtained from both pure and hybrid lines indicate the occurrence of paternal inheritance or mitochondrial heteroplasmy. This study opens new research avenues and raises question regarding the usefulness of genetic data and crossbreeding experiments as criteria for the definition of cryptic species in ticks.

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          Morphological and genetic diversity of Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato from the New and Old Worlds

          Background The taxonomic status of the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu stricto), which has long been regarded as the most widespread tick worldwide and a vector of many pathogens to dogs and humans, is currently under dispute. Methods We conducted a comprehensive morphological and genetic study of 278 representative specimens, which belonged to different species (i.e., Rhipicephalus bursa, R. guilhoni, R. microplus, R. muhsamae, R. pusillus, R. sanguineus sensu lato, and R. turanicus) collected from Europe, Asia, Americas, and Oceania. After detailed morphological examination, ticks were molecularly processed for the analysis of partial mitochondrial (16S rDNA, 12S rDNA, and cox1) gene sequences. Results In addition to R. sanguineus s.l. and R. turanicus, three different operational taxonomic units (namely, R. sp. I, R. sp. II, and R. sp. III) were found on dogs. These operational taxonomical units were morphologically and genetically different from R. sanguineus s.l. and R. turanicus. Ticks identified as R. sanguineus s.l., which corresponds to the so-called “tropical species” (=northern lineage), were found in all continents and genetically it represents a sister group of R. guilhoni. R. turanicus was found on a wide range of hosts in Italy and also on dogs in Greece. Conclusions The tropical species and the temperate species (=southern lineage) are paraphyletic groups. The occurrence of R. turanicus in the Mediterranean region is confirmed. A consensual re-description of R. sanguineus s.s. and R. turanicus will be necessary to solve the taxonomic problems within the so-called R. sanguineus group.
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            Climate change, biodiversity, ticks and tick-borne diseases: The butterfly effect

            We have killed wild animals for obtaining food and decimated forests for many reasons. Nowadays, we are burning fossil fuels as never before and even exploring petroleum in deep waters. The impact of these activities on our planet is now visible to the naked eye and the debate on climate change is warming up in scientific meetings and becoming a priority on the agenda of both scientists and policy decision makers. On the occasion of the Impact of Environmental Changes on Infectious Diseases (IECID) meeting, held in the 2015 in Sitges, Spain, I was invited to give a keynote talk on climate change, biodiversity, ticks and tick-borne diseases. The aim of the present article is to logically extend my rationale presented on the occasion of the IECID meeting. This article is not intended to be an exhaustive review, but an essay on climate change, biodiversity, ticks and tick-borne diseases. It may be anticipated that warmer winters and extended autumn and spring seasons will continue to drive the expansion of the distribution of some tick species (e.g., Ixodes ricinus) to northern latitudes and to higher altitudes. Nonetheless, further studies are advocated to improve our understanding of the complex interactions between landscape, climate, host communities (biodiversity), tick demography, pathogen diversity, human demography, human behaviour, economics, and politics, also considering all ecological processes (e.g., trophic cascades) and other possible interacting effects (e.g., mutual effects of increased greenhouse gas emissions and increased deforestation rates). The multitude of variables and interacting factors involved, and their complexity and dynamism, make tick-borne transmission systems beyond (current) human comprehension. That is, perhaps, the main reason for our inability to precisely predict new epidemics of vector-borne diseases in general.
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              Comparative Evaluation of the Vector Competence of Four South American Populations of the Rhipicephalus sanguineus Group for the Bacterium Ehrlichia canis, the Agent of Canine Monocytic Ehrlichiosis

              This study compared the vector competence of four populations of Rhipicephalus sanguineus group ticks for the bacterium Ehrlichia canis, the agent of canine monocytic ehrlichiosis (CME). Ticks (larvae and nymphs) from the four populations—one from São Paulo state, southeastern Brazil (BSP), one from Rio Grande do Sul state, southern Brazil (BRS), one from Argentina (ARG), and one from Uruguay (URU)–were exposed to E. canis infection by feeding on dogs that were experimentally infected with E. canis. Engorged ticks (larvae and nymphs) were allowed to molt to nymphs and adults, respectively, which were tested by molecular analysis (E. canis-specific PCR assay) and used to infest naïve dogs. Through infestation of adult ticks on naïve dogs, after nymphal acquisition feeding on E. canis-infected dogs, only the BSP population was shown to be competent vectors of E. canis, i.e., only the dogs infested with BSP adult ticks developed clinical illness, seroconverted to E. canis, and yielded E. canis DNA by PCR. This result, demonstrated by two independent replications, is congruent with epidemiological data, since BSP ticks were derived from São Paulo state, Brazil, where CME is highly endemic. On the other hand, BRS, ARG, and URU ticks were derived from a geographical region (South America southern cone) where CME has never been properly documented. Molecular analysis of unfed adults at 30 days post molting support these transmission results, since none of the BRS, ARG, and URU ticks were PCR positive, whereas 1% of the BSP nymphs and 31.8% of the BSP adults contained E. canis DNA. We conclude that the absence or scarcity of cases of CME due to E. canis in the South America southern cone is a result of vector incompetence of the R. sanguineus group ticks that prevail on dogs in this part of South America.

                Author and article information

                Parasit Vectors
                Parasit Vectors
                Parasites & Vectors
                BioMed Central (London )
                9 July 2018
                9 July 2018
                : 11
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0001 0723 0931, GRID grid.418068.3, Department of Immunology, Aggeu Magalhães Institute, , Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), ; Recife, Pernambuco 50670420 Brazil
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0001 0120 3326, GRID grid.7644.1, Department of Veterinary Medicine, , University of Bari, ; 70010 Valenzano, Bari, Italy
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2111 0565, GRID grid.411177.5, Academic Unit of Garanhuns, , Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, ; Garanhuns, Pernambuco 55292270 Brazil
                [4 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1805 1826, GRID grid.419593.3, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, ; 35020 Legnaro, Italy
                [5 ]Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Puglia e della Basilicata, Contrada S. Pietro Piturno, 70017 Putignano, Bari, Italy
                [6 ]GRID grid.7841.a, Department of Environmental Biology, , Sapienza University of Rome, ; 00185 Rome, Italy
                © The Author(s). 2018

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funded by: Bayer Animal Health
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