Skip to main content Accessibility help

Molecular detection of Sarcocystis lutrae in the European badger (Meles meles) in Scotland

  • T. LEPORE (a1), P. M. BARTLEY (a1), F. CHIANINI (a1), A. I. MACRAE (a2), E. A. INNES (a1) and F. KATZER (a1)...


Neck samples from 54 badgers and 32 tongue samples of the same badgers (Meles meles), collected in the Lothians and Borders regions of Scotland, were tested using polymerase chain reactions (PCRs) directed against the 18S ribosomal DNA and the internal transcribed spacer (ITS1) region of protozoan parasites of the family Sarcocystidae. Positive results were obtained from 36/54 (67%) neck and 24/32 (75%) tongue samples using an 18S rDNA PCR. A 468 base pair consensus sequence that was generated from the 18S rDNA PCR amplicons (KX229728) showed 100% identity to Sarcocystis lutrae. The ITS1 PCR results revealed that 12/20 (60%) neck and 10/20 (50%) tongue samples were positive for Sarcocystidae DNA. A 1074 bp consensus sequence was generated from the ITS1 PCR amplicons (KX431307) and showed 100% identity to S. lutrae. Multiple sequence alignments and phylogenetic analysis support the finding that the rDNA found in badgers is identical to that of S. lutrae. This parasite has not been previously reported in badgers or in the UK. Sarcocystis lutrae has previously only been detected in tongue, skeletal muscle and diaphragm samples of the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) in Norway and potentially in the Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus).


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Moredun Research Institute, Pentlands Science Park, Bush Loan, Midlothian, EH26 0PZ, Scotland, UK. E-mail:


Hide All
Bartley, P. M., Wright, S. E., Zimmer, I. A., Roy, S., Kitchener, A. C., Meredith, A., Innes, E. A. and Katzer, F. (2013). Detection of Neospora caninum in wild carnivorans in Great Britain. Veterinary Parasitology 192, 279283. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2012.10.001.
Bartley, P. M., Hamilton, C., Wilson, C., Innes, E. A. and Katzer, F. (2016). Detection of Babesia annae DNA in lung exudate samples from Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Great Britain. Parasites & Vectors 9, 84. doi: 10.1186/s13071-016-1364-1.
Burrells, A., Opsteegh, M., Pollock, K. G., Alexander, C. L., Chatterton, J., Evans, R., Walker, R., McKenzie, C. A., Hill, D., Innes, E. A. and Katzer, F. (2016). The prevalence and genotypic analysis of Toxoplasma gondii from individuals in Scotland, 2006–2012. Parasites & Vectors 9, 324. doi: 10.1186/s13071-016-1610-6.
Dubey, J. P. and Lindsay, D. S. (2006). Neosporosis, toxoplasmosis, and sarcocystosis in ruminants. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice 22, 645671. doi: 10.1016/j.cvfa.2006.08.001.
Dubey, J. P., Speer, С. Α. and Fayer, R. (1989). Sarcocystosis of Animals and Man. CRC Press. Inc., Boca Raton, Florida.
Dubey, J. P., Lindsay, D. S., Saville, W. J., Reed, S. M., Granstrom, D. E. and Speer, C. A. (2001 a). A review of Sarcocystis neurona and equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM). Veterinary Parasitology 95, 89131.
Dubey, J. P., Rosypal, A. C., Rosenthal, B. M., Thomas, N. J., Lindsay, D. S., Stanek, J. F., Reed, S. M. and Saville, W. J. (2001 b). Sarcocystis neurona infections in sea otter (Enhydra lutris): evidence for natural infections with sarcocysts and transmission of infection to opossums (Didelphis virginiana). Journal of Parasitology 87, 13871393.
Dubey, J. P., Lindsay, D. S., Rosenthal, B. M. and Thomas, N. J. (2003). Sarcocysts of an unidentified species of Sarcocystis in the sea otter (Enhydra lutris). Journal of Parasitology 89, 397399. doi: 10.1645/0022-3395(2003)089[0397:SOAUSO]2.0.CO;2.
Dubey, J. P., Reichard, M. V., Torretti, L., Garvon, J. M., Sundar, N. and Grigg, M. E. (2010). Two new species of Sarcocystis (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae) infecting the wolverine (Gulo gulo) from Nunavut, Canada. Journal of Parasitology. 96, 972976. doi: 10.1645/GE-2412.1.
Dubey, J. P., Calero-Bernal, R., Rosenthal, B. M., Speer, A. and Fayer, R. (2015). Sarcocystosis of Animals and Humans, 2nd Edn. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, London, New York.
Gjerde, B. (2014). Molecular characterisation of Sarcocystis rileyi from a common eider (Somateria mollissima) in Norway. Parasitology Research 113, 35013509. doi: 10.1007/s00436-014-4062-y.
Gjerde, B. and Josefsen, T. D. (2015). Molecular characterisation of Sarcocystis lutrae n. sp. and Toxoplasma gondii from the musculature of two Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) in Norway. Parasitology Research 114, 873886. doi: 10.1007/s00436-014-4251-8.
Gjerde, B. and Schulze, J. (2014). Muscular sarcocystosis in two Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) due to Sarcocystis arctica n. sp.: sarcocyst morphology, molecular characteristics and phylogeny. Parasitology Research 113, 811821. doi: 10.1007/s00436-013-3711-x.
Kaltungo, B. Y. and Musa, I. W. (2013). A Review of some protozoan parasites causing infertility in Farm Animals. ISRN Tropical Medicine 2013, 16.
Kubo, M., Okano, T., Ito, K., Tsubota, T., Sakai, H. and Yanai, T. (2009). Muscular sarcocystosis in wild carnivores in Honshu, Japan. Parasitology Research 106, 213219.
Miller, M. A., Barr, B. C., Nordhausen, R., James, E. R., Magargal, S. L., Murray, M., Conrad, P. A., Toy-Choutka, S., Jessup, D. A. and Grigg, M. E. (2009). Ultrastructural and molecular confirmation of the development of Sarcocystis neurona tissue cysts in the central nervous system of southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis). International Journal for Parasitology 39, 13631372. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2009.04.014.
Odening, K., Stolte, M., Walter, G. and Bockhardt, I. (1994 a). The European badger (Carnivora: Mustelidae) as intermediate host of further three Sarcocystis species (Sporozoa). Parasite Immunology 1, 2330.
Odening, K., Stolte, M., Walter, G., Bockhardt, I. and Jakob, W. (1994 b). Sarcocysts (Sarcocystis sp.: Sporozoa) in the European badger, Meles meles . Parasitology 108, 421424.
Tamura, K. and Nei, M. (1993). Estimation of the number of nucleotide substitutions in the control region of mitochondrial DNA in humans and chimpanzees. Molecular Biology and Evolution 10, 512526.
Tamura, K., Stecher, G., Peterson, D., Filipski, A. and Kumar, S. (2013). MEGA6: molecular evolutionary genetics analysis version 6.0. Molecular Biology and Evolution 30, 27252729. doi: 10.1093/molbev/mst197.
Wendte, J. M., Miller, M. A., Nandra, A. K., Peat, S. M., Crosbie, P. R., Conrad, P. A. and Grigg, M. E. (2010). Limited genetic diversity among Sarcocystis neurona strains infecting southern sea otters precludes distinction between marine and terrestrial isolates. Veterinary Parasitology 169, 3744. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2009.12.020.


Molecular detection of Sarcocystis lutrae in the European badger (Meles meles) in Scotland

  • T. LEPORE (a1), P. M. BARTLEY (a1), F. CHIANINI (a1), A. I. MACRAE (a2), E. A. INNES (a1) and F. KATZER (a1)...


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed