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Parasitic nematodes of the genus Syphacia Seurat, 1916 infecting Muridae in the British Isles, and the peculiar case of Syphacia frederici



Syphacia stroma (von Linstow, 1884) Morgan, 1932 and Syphacia frederici Roman, 1945 are oxyurid nematodes that parasitize two murid rodents, Apodemus sylvaticus and Apodemus flavicollis, on the European mainland. Only S. stroma has been recorded previously in Apodemus spp. from the British Isles. Despite the paucity of earlier reports, we identified S. frederici in four disparate British sites, two in Nottinghamshire, one each in Berkshire and Anglesey, Wales. Identification was based on their site in the host (caecum and not small intestine), on key morphological criteria that differentiate this species from S. stroma (in particular the tail of female worms) and by sequencing two genetic loci (cytochrome C oxidase 1 gene and a section of ribosomal DNA). Sequences derived from both genetic loci of putative British S. frederici isolates formed a tight clade with sequences from continental worms known to be S. frederici, clearly distinguishing these isolates from S. stroma which formed a tight clade of its own, distinct from clades representative of Syphacia obvelata from Mus and S. muris from Rattus. The data in this paper therefore constitute the first record of S. frederici from British wood mice, and confirm the status of this species as distinct from both S. obvelata and S. stroma.


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*Corresponding author: School of Life Sciences, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK. E-mail:


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Parasitic nematodes of the genus Syphacia Seurat, 1916 infecting Muridae in the British Isles, and the peculiar case of Syphacia frederici



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