Original Research

A check-list of the pentastomid parasites of crocodilians and freshwater chelonians

K. Junker, J. Boomker
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 73, No 1 | a167 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v73i1.167 | © 2006 K. Junker, J. Boomker | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 September 2006 | Published: 13 September 2006

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K. Junker,
J. Boomker,

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Based on published records and own data a summary is given of the geographical distribution of the currently known species of pentastomid parasites infecting crocodiles and alligators, as well as freshwater chelonians. A brief generic diagnosis is provided for each genus.
Fourteen out of the currently 23 living crocodilian species have been recorded as being host to one or more pentastomes. Out of the 32 pentastome species six are considered species inquirendae. Presently, six genera of crocodilian pentastomes, Agema, Alofia, Leiperia, Sebekia, Selfia and Subtriquetra are recognized. African crocodiles harbour eight pentastome species, six of which have been recorded from the Nile crocodile, Crocodylus niloticus. Three species belong to the genus Sebekia, Alofia being represented by two and Leiperia by only one species. Two species, Alofia parva and Agema silvaepalustris, occur in the dwarf crocodile, Osteolaemus tetraspis, and the slender-snouted crocodile, Crocodylus cataphractus, exclusively, but a single Sebekia species is shared with the Nile crocodile. The genus Agema is endemic to the African region. Infective stages of the pentastome Sub triquetra rileyi, thought to utilize Nile crocodiles as final hosts, have been recovered only from fishes. The largest number of pentastome species is found in the Australasian region. Of these, the Indo-Pacific croc odile, Crocodylus porosus, harbours seven, representing the genera Alofia, Sebekia, Lei peria and Selfia. Selfia is exclusive to the latter host. The genus Subtriquetra has been reported from "Indian crocodiles", a term possibly referring to either Crocodylus palustris, Crocodylus porosus or Gavialis gangeticus. Ten species of pentastomes parasitizing the crocodilian genera Alligator, Caiman, Crocodylus and Melanosuchus have been recorded from the Neotropical region including the southern states of the North American continent. The two most wide-spread pentastome genera, Alofia and Sebekia, have been recorded together with representatives of the genus Sub triquetra and immature and larval forms of Leiperia.
To date the two monospecific genera, Pelonia, from two terrapin species, Pelusios sinuatus and Pelomedusa subrufa, in South Africa, and Diesingia from Hydraspis geoffroyana and Hydromedusa tectifera in South America, are the only chelonian pentastomes recovered world-wide. A possible exception is the crocodilian pentastome Sebekia mississippiensis which can reach maturity in exper imentally infected terrapins.


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Crossref Citations

1. A morphological and genetic description of pentastomid infective nymphs belonging to the family Sebekidae Sambon, 1922 in fish in Australian waters
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