Investigating the spatial distribution of avian blood
parasites can shed light on
the occurrence of host switching and expansion in new territories, two key
factors for which to account when addressing future parasite impacts on
vertebrates. We examined the mitochondrial cytochrome b lineages of
haemosporidians infecting the white-throated dipper Cinclus cinclus in order to assess their
distribution across five mountains in the Central Iberian Peninsula and
the possible implications of lineage transmission in that geographical context.
Of 71 host individuals, 79.6% were infected with Haemoproteus spp., 0.9%
with Plasmodium spp. and 19.5% with Leucocytozoon spp. We
identified seven lineages from genus Haemoproteus
spp. (four were novel), one lineage
of Plasmodium spp. and nine of Leucocytozoon spp. (five previously undescribed). Only two of the Haemoproteus lineages (RW1 and MW1)
showed widespread distribution across the study sites whereas the novel
lineages each corresponded to a single area. Given the non-migratory behaviour
of the host species in the region, our results provide the first proof of Leucocytozoon WW6 lineage transmission
within Europe. Furthermore, this study is the first to reveal the transmission
in Europe of Haemoproteuspayevskyi and Haemoproteusnucleocondensus,
corresponding to the identified RW1 and GRW01 lineages respectively. Both
findings support the idea that these lineages could be transmitted year-round transcontinentally.
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