Reliable molecular differentiation of Trichuris ovis and Trichuris discolor from sheep (Ovis orientalis aries) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and morphological characterisation of their females: morphology does not work sufficiently
Nematodes of the genus Trichuris, known as whipworms, are recognized to infect numerous mammalian species including humans and non-human primates. Several Trichuris spp. have been described and species designation/identification is traditionally based on host-affiliation, although cross-infection and hybridization events may complicate species boundaries. The main aims of the present study were to genetically characterize adult Trichuris specimens from captive Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) and grivets (Chlorocebus aethiops), using the ribosomal DNA (ITS) as molecular marker and to investigate the phylogeny and the extent of genetic variation also by comparison with data on isolates from other humans, non-human primates and other hosts. The phylogenetic analysis of Trichuris sequences from M. fuscata and C. aethiops provided evidences of distinct clades and subclades thus advocating the existence of additional separated taxa. Neighbor Joining and Bayesian trees suggest that specimens from M. fuscata may be distinct from, but related to Trichuris trichiura, while a close relationship is suggested between the subclade formed by the specimens from C. aethiops and the subclade formed by T. suis. The tendency to associate Trichuris sp. to host species can lead to misleading taxonomic interpretations (i.e. whipworms found in primates are identified as T. trichiura). The results here obtained confirm previous evidences suggesting the existence of Trichuris spp. other than T. trichiura infecting non-human living primates.