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The poultry red mite (PRM), Dermanyssus gallinae, is one of the most detrimental ectoparasite on poultry farms worldwide. The blood fed on birds provides the mites with nutrition and energy for their activities, development and reproduction. In the evaluation of the efficacy of novel drugs or vaccines against PRMs, their effects on blood digestion are generally used as a key parameter. The blood digestion of haematophagous arthropods (including D. gallinae) is usually assessed by weighing; however, this method shows some limitations. The main objective of the present study was to develop a scoring method that can quickly and visually evaluate the blood digestion status of PRMs. A 0–4 point scoring criterion was established to describe the blood digestion status of D. gallinae based on the changes in appearance in the intestinal tract of PRMs during the blood digestion process. There was a good consistency between the results obtained by the blood digestion scoring and the weighing, indicating the reliability of this new method. The results obtained from volunteers were consistent with the results from researchers with low coefficient of variation, indicating that the scoring method has good practicability. The applicability of the scoring method was confirmed in an efficacy study, where it was found that doramectin could significantly inhibit the blood digestion of PRMs, lowering the blood digestion score.
Parabronema skrjabini is one of the most harmful nematodes to camels and is responsible for economic losses in animal husbandry industry. There is an urgent need for in-depth studies of potential vectors of the nematode due to its scant regarding information. As previous studies indicated that flies may be the vectors of P. skrjabini, we captured flies in the main camel-producing areas of Inner Mongolia. After autopsy of the specimens of two species of horn flies, we observed the morphology of the suspected nematode larvae found in them. Internal transcribed spacer ribosomal-DNA gene sequences were considered the best candidate to confirm the species of the larvae found. Our results showed that the homology compared with P. skrjabini was 99.5% in GenBank. Subsequently, we preliminarily identified two species of horn flies through morphological observation and then sequenced the mitochondrial-DNA-gene cytochrome oxidase subunit I obtained from two species of horn flies, with 100 and 99.2% similarity to sequences deposited in GenBank, respectively. Thus, we identified Haematobia titillans and Haematobia irritans and provided evidence for their potential role as vectors of parabronemosis. Our study provides reference for future research on the life history of the nematode and the vectors of parabronemosis.
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