RESEARCH PAPER
First molecular identification and phylogenetic tree of Petasiger exaeretus Dietz, 1909 (Digenea: Echinostomatidae) from an intermediate host Radix auricularia (L., 1758) in Greater Zab river, Iraq
 
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Education College, Salahaddin University, Erbil, Iraq
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Shwan Khursheed Bashe   

Education college, Iraq
 
KEYWORDS
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ABSTRACT
Introduction:
Radix auricularia (Linnaeus, 1758) is a freshwater gastropod belongs to the Lymnaeidae (pond snails) family which act as intermediate hosts or vectors of various parasitic flukes. No study has yet been undertaken on the prevalence of Petasiger spp. infection in R. auricularia. Species of Petasiger (Dietz, 1909) are a cosmopolitan parasite that utilize snails as the first intermediate host, with vertebrates like amphibians larvae and fish as the second intermediate host, followed by fish-eating birds. The current paper is considered to be the first report of Petasiger exaeretus parasitized R. auricularia in Iraq, which is supported with molecular and phylogenetic analysis.

Material and methods:
Freshwater snails R. auricularia were collected during October 2016 – September 2017 from different locations of Sufaia village on the Greater Zab river, Erbil province, Iraq.

Results:
A total of 307 freshwater snails R. auricularia were collected, only five of them were infected with a prevalence of Petasiger exaeretus (1.62%).

Conclusions:
The current study agrees with the opinion of Selbach, Soldánová (26), which suggested the possibility of a much higher morphological diversity within Petasiger species, based on the number of described cercariae, compared with adult forms.It is clear that P. phalacrocoracis specimens have often been erroneously designated as P. exaeretus by many authors (Našincová et al., 1994). Certain morphological similarities and dissimilarities between P. exaeretus and P. phalacrocoracis can be detected: the pear-shaped body resembles P. exaeretus, whereas, P. phalacrocoracis have an elongated body.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors would like to thank Sarwat Al-Qassab, PhD (Molecular Biology, Biotechnology and Parasitology. University of Technology, Sydney, Australia) and Sardar S. Karash, PhD (Cell and Molecular Biology Program, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, USA), lecturers in the Biology Department of Salahaddin University Iraq.
 
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