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      Host conservation through their parasites: molecular surveillance of vector-borne microorganisms in bats using ectoparasitic bat flies Translated title: Conservation des hôtes grâce à leurs parasites : surveillance moléculaire des microorganismes à transmission vectorielle chez les chauves-souris à l’aide de mouches ectoparasites

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          Most vertebrates host a wide variety of haematophagous parasites, which may play an important role in the transmission of vector-borne microorganisms to hosts. Surveillance is usually performed by collecting blood and/or tissue samples from vertebrate hosts. There are multiple methods to obtain samples, which can be stored for decades if properly kept. However, blood sampling is considered an invasive method and may possibly be harmful to the sampled individual. In this study, we investigated the use of ectoparasites as a tool to acquire molecular information about the presence and diversity of infectious microorganism in host populations. We tested the presence of three distinct vector-borne microorganisms in both bat blood and bat flies: Bartonella bacteria, malaria-like Polychromophilus sp. (Apicomplexa), and Trypanosoma sp. (Kinetoplastea). We detected the presence of these microorganisms both in bats and in their bat flies, with the exception of Trypanosoma sp. in South African bat flies. Additionally, we found Bartonella sp. in bat flies from one population in Spain, suggesting its presence in the host population even if not detected in bats. Bartonella and Polychromophilus infection showed the highest prevalence in both bat and bat fly populations. Single, co- and triple infections were also frequently present in both. We highlight the use of haematophagous ectoparasites to study the presence of infectious microorganism in host blood and its use as an alternative, less invasive sampling method.

          Translated abstract

          La plupart des vertébrés hébergent une grande variété de parasites hématophages, qui peuvent jouer un rôle important dans la transmission de microorganismes à transmission vectorielle à leurs hôtes. La surveillance est généralement effectuée en prélevant des échantillons de sang et/ou de tissus sur des hôtes vertébrés. Il existe plusieurs méthodes pour obtenir des échantillons, qui peuvent être conservés pendant des décennies dans des bonnes conditions. Cependant, le prélèvement sanguin est considéré comme une méthode invasive et peut éventuellement être nocif pour l’individu prélevé. Dans cette étude, nous avons étudié l’utilisation d’ectoparasites comme outil pour acquérir des informations moléculaires sur la présence et la diversité des microorganismes infectieux dans les populations hôtes. Nous avons testé la présence de trois microorganismes distincts, transmis par des vecteurs, dans le sang et les mouches des chauves-souris : les bactéries Bartonella, Polychromophilus sp. (Apicomplexa) et Trypanosoma sp. (Kinetoplastea). Nous avons détecté la présence de ces microorganismes à la fois chez les chauves-souris et chez leurs mouches des chauves-souris, à l’exception de Trypanosoma sp. chez les chauves-souris sud-africaines. De plus, nous avons trouvé Bartonella sp. chez les mouches des chauves-souris d’une population en Espagne, ce qui suggère sa présence dans la population hôte même si elle n’est pas détectée chez les chauves-souris elles-mêmes. Les infections à Bartonella et Polychromophilus ont montré la prévalence la plus élevée dans les populations de chauves-souris et de mouches des chauves-souris. Des infections simples, doubles et triples étaient également fréquemment présentes dans les deux cas. Nous mettons en évidence l’utilisation d’ectoparasites hématophages pour étudier la présence de microorganismes infectieux dans le sang de l’hôte et son utilisation comme méthode alternative et moins invasive d’échantillonnage.

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          Most cited references 115

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          MEGA7: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis Version 7.0 for Bigger Datasets.

          We present the latest version of the Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (Mega) software, which contains many sophisticated methods and tools for phylogenomics and phylomedicine. In this major upgrade, Mega has been optimized for use on 64-bit computing systems for analyzing larger datasets. Researchers can now explore and analyze tens of thousands of sequences in Mega The new version also provides an advanced wizard for building timetrees and includes a new functionality to automatically predict gene duplication events in gene family trees. The 64-bit Mega is made available in two interfaces: graphical and command line. The graphical user interface (GUI) is a native Microsoft Windows application that can also be used on Mac OS X. The command line Mega is available as native applications for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. They are intended for use in high-throughput and scripted analysis. Both versions are available from www.megasoftware.net free of charge.
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            Parasites in food webs: the ultimate missing links

            Parasitism is the most common consumer strategy among organisms, yet only recently has there been a call for the inclusion of infectious disease agents in food webs. The value of this effort hinges on whether parasites affect food-web properties. Increasing evidence suggests that parasites have the potential to uniquely alter food-web topology in terms of chain length, connectance and robustness. In addition, parasites might affect food-web stability, interaction strength and energy flow. Food-web structure also affects infectious disease dynamics because parasites depend on the ecological networks in which they live. Empirically, incorporating parasites into food webs is straightforward. We may start with existing food webs and add parasites as nodes, or we may try to build food webs around systems for which we already have a good understanding of infectious processes. In the future, perhaps researchers will add parasites while they construct food webs. Less clear is how food-web theory can accommodate parasites. This is a deep and central problem in theoretical biology and applied mathematics. For instance, is representing parasites with complex life cycles as a single node equivalent to representing other species with ontogenetic niche shifts as a single node? Can parasitism fit into fundamental frameworks such as the niche model? Can we integrate infectious disease models into the emerging field of dynamic food-web modelling? Future progress will benefit from interdisciplinary collaborations between ecologists and infectious disease biologists.
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              Parasites dominate food web links.

              Parasitism is the most common animal lifestyle, yet food webs rarely include parasites. The few earlier studies have indicated that including parasites leads to obvious increases in species richness, number of links, and food chain length. A less obvious result was that adding parasites slightly reduced connectance, a key metric considered to affect food web stability. However, reported reductions in connectance after the addition of parasites resulted from an inappropriate calculation. Two alternative corrective approaches applied to four published studies yield an opposite result: parasites increase connectance, sometimes dramatically. In addition, we find that parasites can greatly affect other food web statistics, such as nestedness (asymmetry of interactions), chain length, and linkage density. Furthermore, whereas most food webs find that top trophic levels are least vulnerable to natural enemies, the inclusion of parasites revealed that mid-trophic levels, not low trophic levels, suffered the highest vulnerability to natural enemies. These results show that food webs are very incomplete without parasites. Most notably, recognition of parasite links may have important consequences for ecosystem stability because they can increase connectance and nestedness.

                Author and article information

                EDP Sciences
                11 December 2020
                : 27
                : ( publisher-idID: parasite/2020/01 )
                [1 ] Museum of Zoology 1014 Lausanne Switzerland
                [2 ] Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne 1015 Lausanne Switzerland
                [3 ] Department of Medical Virology, University of Pretoria 0001 Pretoria South Africa
                [4 ] AfricanBats NPC 0157 Pretoria South Africa
                [5 ] UMR Processus Infectieux en Milieu Insulaire Tropical 97490 Sainte-Clotilde Reunion Island, France
                [6 ] Ditsong National Museum of Natural History 0001 Pretoria South Africa
                [7 ] Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria 0083 Pretoria South Africa
                [8 ] Department of Zoology, Eszterházy Károly University 3300 Eger Hungary
                Author notes

                Equal contribution.

                [* ]Corresponding author: tamaraszentivanyi@ 123456gmail.com
                parasite200069 10.1051/parasite/2020069
                © T. Szentiványi et al., published by EDP Sciences, 2020

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 103, Pages: 10
                Research Article


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