First report of Thelazia callipaeda in a free-ranging Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus) from Spain


Thelazia callipaeda (Spirurida, Thelaziidae) is a vector-borne zoonotic eyeworm able to infect a broad spectrum of carnivores. Here, we describe the first case of bilateral infection by T. callipaeda in the eyes of an adult female Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus) in central Spain. Nematodes collected were morphologically identified (n = 42), and two specimens were molecularly characterized. At the sequence analysis of the partial mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene, T. callipaeda haplotype 1 (the only haplotype circulating in Europe) was detected. The role of the Iberian wolf as a natural reservoir for T. callipaeda in the life cycle of this emerging zoonosis and the implications in conservation are discussed.

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This work is included within the Rural Development Plan of Castilla-La Mancha (media 4.4: Plan de Desarrollo Rural), supported by the FEDER fund. We thank the Dirección General de Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible (especially Antonio Aranda and Marino López de Carrión). We are indebted to all the wardens (Agentes de Medio Ambiente) of Castilla-La Mancha for their tireless field work, especially to all the wildlife rangers in charge of surveillance and tracking of Iberian wolves in the Northwest Guadalajara. Special thanks go to the livestock producers from the Sierra Norte in Guadalajara province.

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Correspondence to Rafael Calero-Bernal.

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Nájera, F., de Lucas-Veguillas, J., Vela, Á. et al. First report of Thelazia callipaeda in a free-ranging Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus) from Spain. Parasitol Res 119, 2347–2350 (2020).

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  • Eyeworm
  • Thelazia callipaeda
  • Wolf
  • Canis lupus signatus
  • Spain