Parasitology, Harold W. Manter Laboratory of


Date of this Version



Published in the Journal of Parasitology (October 2007) 93(5): 1,070-1,083.


The nematode Soboliphyme baturini Petrov, 1930, was found to represent a single species with a relatively broad geographic range across Beringia and northwestern North America on the basis of the assessment of molecular sequence data for adult and juvenile parasites. Refuted are hypotheses suggesting that several cryptic species could be partitioned either among an array of mustelid definitive hosts or across the vast region that links North America and Eurasia. Host specificity for this species is examined on the basis of a comprehensive list for definitive hosts, derived from new field surveys and existing literature for S. baturini. Only 5 mustelids (Gulo gulo, Martes americana, M. caurina, M. zibellina, and Neovison vison) appear to have significant roles in the life history, persistence, and transmission of this nematode. Soboliphyme baturini readily switches among M. americana, M. caurina, Mustela erminea, or N. vison at any particular locality throughout its geographic range in North America, although Martes spp. could represent the source for nematodes in a broader array of mustelids. Molecular analyses (243 base pairs of mitochondrial gene nicotinamide dehydrogenase [ND4]) suggest that hypotheses for host specificity across an array of mustelid definitive hosts are not supported. The life cycle of S. baturini is explored through a review of diet literature for two marten species, M. americana and M. caurina, and other mustelids across the Holarctic. Shrews (Soricomorpha: Soricidae) comprise >8% of prey for these species of Martes, suggesting their putative role as paratenic hosts. Juvenile nematodes found in the diaphragms of soricids are genetically identical to adult S. baturini found in the stomachs of mustelids at the same locations in both Asia and North America, corroborating a role in transmission for species of Sorex.

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