Title : First molecular identification of mermithid nematodes (Nematoda: Mermithidae) infecting Culicoides spp (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) in Tunisia
The Mermithid nematode parasitizes many biting midges worldwide, causing changes in different parts of their body, especially intersexes phenomena. In Tunisia, and to our knowledge any study was recorded to know if this phenomenon exists and to identify the nematode species involved. During the bluetongue study in Tunisia, specimens of Culicoides were collected. Between them, nematodes colonized biting midges of Culicoides species were detected emerging their anus. To identify, which genus of the nematode was present, nematode isolation was carried out and a simple PCR was applied using 18S rDNA primers to sequence nematode DNA and screen species for mermithid DNA.
Two biting midges of Culicoides: Culicoides circumscriptus and Culicoides sergenti were infected by the nematode. Maximum parsimony analysis confirmed that the nematode parasites found in Culicoides were indeed mermithid parasites, and were closely related to Pheromermis sp, Mermis nigrescens, and Limnomermis sp. This is the first report of the detection of mermithids species in the Culicoides species in Tunisia. Future mermithid isolations will allow taxonomic identification, and characterize its usefulness as a biological control agent.
Audience take away:
- The present study can evaluate the potential of the entomopathogenic nematodes Pheromermis sp, Mermis nigrescens, and Limnomermis sp for the biological control of Culicoides species in Africa?
- Other faculty could use this research to expand their research or teaching.