Global eukaryotic parasite diversity of platypus and echidna
The short beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) and the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) are iconic egg-laying monotremes (Monotremata: Mammalia) in Australia. Recognition and understanding the importance of parasites such as apicomplexa (Eimeria, Theileria, Babesia, Hepatozoon) in monotreme’s health and disease is limited by the paucity of material to study. Using small subunit (18S) rDNA amplicon deep-sequencing we demonstrated presence of apicomplexan parasites confirmed by direct and cloned amplicon gene sequencing to characterise Theileria ornithorhynchi, Theileria tachyglossi, Eimeria echidnae and Cryptosporidium fayeri. Deep sequencing complements and supports traditional diagnostic methods including microscopy and histopathology to better define the status quo and is particularly suitable for wildlife disease investigation.
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