• Protostrongylids nematodes as a tool to study the biogeography of wild mammals
  • Sulliotti, Valerio <1988>


  • BIO/05 Zoologia


  • The European brown hare (Lepus europaeus Pallas, 1778) is an important game species, distributed across Europe and introduced in other regions. Recently, a geographically isolated population, closely related to an ancestral lineage of Lepus europaeus meridiei, was found on Pianosa Island, off the coast of Tuscany, Italy (Mengoni et al., 2018). Thus, the unique opportunity to explore the evolution and genetic structure of its helminth parasites was added to its exceptional isolation condition. Various lungworm species within the genus Protostrongylus (Nematoda: Protostrongylidae) are described in European brown hares. Our aim was to analyze the parasite population through morphological and molecular approaches in order to study the biogeography of the European brown hares (L. e. meridiei) population from Pianosa Island. Moreover, we investigated the morphology of a monospecific genus, i.e. Orthostrongylus, considering its quite intrigant descriptive history and its still unclear and debated classification. Nuclear and mitochondrial markers were used based on their resolution power and expected polymorphism; the whole Internal Transcribed Spacer 1 and 2 (ITS), including the 5.8S rRNA sequence and the Large Subunit (28S) were used, as nuclear genes, for confirmation of the species identification. Conversely, the cytochrome oxidase c subunit I (COI) was used, as mithocondrial genes, to assess interspecific genetic relationships. Molecular analysis corroborated the morphological identification since all the generated ITS and LSU sequences were 100% consistent with the species Protostrongylus oryctolagi and Orthostrongylus macrotis. The paucity of molecular data existent about this genus of parasites underlines the need for more insight’s studies. An in-depth analysis of broncho-pulmonary parasites and the host-parasites relationships along with the improvement of the use of mitochondrial genes, as well as the assessment of new polymorphic markers could contribute to an extensive understanding of parasites fauna and taxonomy, as well as their relationship with wild mammals’ hosts.


  • 2023-03-30


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Sulliotti, Valerio (2023) Protostrongylids nematodes as a tool to study the biogeography of wild mammals, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze veterinarie , 35 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/10519.