Detection, prevalence and phylogenetic relationships of Demodex spp and further skin prostigmata mites (Acari, Arachnida) in wild and domestic mammals
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© 2016 Sastre et al.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. This study was conceived to detect skin mites in social mammals through real-time qPCR, and to estimate taxonomic Demodex and further Prostigmata mite relationships in different host species by comparing sequences from two genes: mitochondrial 16S rRNA and nuclear 18S rRNA. We determined the mite prevalence in the hair follicles of marmots (13%) and bats (17%). The high prevalence found in marmots and bats by sampling only one site on the body may indicate that mites are common inhabitants of their skin. Since we found three different mites (Neuchelacheles sp, Myobia sp and Penthaleus sp) in three bat species (Miotis yuma-nensis, Miotis californicus and Corynorhinus townsendii) and two different mites (both inferred to be members of the Prostigmata order) in one marmot species (Marmota flaviventris), we tentatively concluded that these skin mites 1) cannot be assigned to the same genus based only on a common host, and 2) seem to evolve according to the specific habitat and/or specific hair and sebaceous gland of the mammalian host. Moreover, two M. yumanensis bats harbored identical Neuchelacheles mites, indicating the possibility of interspecific cross-infection within a colony. However, some skin mites species are less restricted by host species than previously thought. Specifically, Demodex canis seems to be more transmissible across species than other skin mites. D. canis have been found mostly in dogs but also in cats and captive bats. In addition, we report the first case of D. canis infestation in a domestic ferret (Mustela putorius). All these mammalian hosts are related to human activities, and D. canis evolution may be a consequence of this relationship. The monophyletic Demodex clade showing closely related dog and human Demodex sequences also supports this likely hypothesis.
Sastre, N., Francino, O., Curti, J. N., Armenta, T. C., Fraser, D. L., Kelly, R. M., Hunt, E., Silbermayr, K., Zewe, C., Sánchez, A., & Ferrer, L. (2016). Detection, prevalence and phylogenetic relationships of Demodex spp and further skin prostigmata mites (Acari, Arachnida) in wild and domestic mammals. PLoS ONE, 11(11), [e0165765]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0165765