Ashworthius patriciapilittae n. sp. (Trichostrongyloidea: Haemonchinae), an Abosomal Nematode in Odocoileus virginianus from Costa Rica, and a New record for the Species of the Genus in the Western Hemisphere
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A species of Ashworthius is reported for the first time in the Western Hemisphere, and A. patriciapilittae n. sp. is described on the basis of specimens in white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus from Costa Rica. Among 8 known species, A. patriciapilittae is morphologically similar to A. tuyenquangi in red muntjac Muntjacus muntjak from northern Vietnam. The synlophe in A. patriciapilittae is composed of 26 ridges in the cervical zone and is continuous to the caudal extremity in males and females. Males are characterized by a complex dorsal ray and narrow trifurcate spicules (351-356 mm long) lacking an ‘‘eyelet,’’ with dissimilar ventral and dorsal processes; the gubernaculum is 45–48% of the spicule length. Females have a prominent linguiform flap at the vulva and large eggs (108-142 mm long). The presence of A. patriciapilittae in Costa Rica is examined in the context of competing hypotheses for cospeciation or contemporary host-switching in cervids; either A. patriciapilittae is a component of an endemic Central and South American fauna that has diversified through coevolution of Ashworthius and cervid hosts or it has been introduced. Among haemonchines in the Western Hemisphere, specimens of A. patriciapilittae may be confused with three species of Haemonchus, including H. contortus, H. placei, and H. similis, that occur in both domestic and wild ruminants. Discovery of A. patriciapilittae emphasizes the continued need for survey and inventory to define the structure and distribution of parasite faunas in wild and domestic ruminants from the Nearctic and Neotropical regions.