Molecular Identity and Phylogeny of Gastrointestinal Strongyle Nematodes in Migratory, Resident, and Sedentary Plains Zebras (Equus Quagga) in Masai Mara National Reserve and Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya

28 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2022

See all articles by Linda Gatwiri Maina

Linda Gatwiri Maina

University of Nairobi

Ndichu Maingi

University of Nairobi

Chege Nga'Nga'

University of Nairobi

Robert Waruiru

University of Nairobi

Francis Gakuya

Wildlife Research and Training Institute

Esther Kanduma

University of Nairobi

Abstract

The identity and phylogeny of strongyle nematode larvae recovered from faecal cultures from migratory and resident zebras in Masai Mara National Reserve and sedentary zebras in Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya was determined using molecular tools. Internal transcribed spacer (ITS) ribosomal DNA (rDNA) extracted from the larvae were amplified using PCR, sequenced for identification, and compared to sequences in the GenBank to determine their phylogeny. Clean sequences were obtained from 16 out of 104 larvae and were distributed as 5 each from the migratory and resident zebras and 6 from the sedentary zebras. Out of the 16 sequences, 10 were identified as Cyathostomum montgomeryi, 3 as Cylicostephanus minutus, 1 as Poteriostomum imparidentatum, 1 as Triodontophorus nipponicus and 1 as Strongylus vulgaris. This study reports for the first time, the genetic identity of P. imparidentatum, T. nipponicus and S. vulgaris from plains zebras in Kenya. The 16 sequences clustered into 5 clades according to the 5 genera of nematodes identified. The clades having the true Cyathostominae (C. montgomeryi, Cy. minutus and P.  imparidentatum) clustered as sister clades. The clade having T. nipponicus a Strongylinae was placed as a sister to the Cyathostominae but was very distinct from the clade having S. vulgaris, the other Strongylinae. The close clustering of T. nipponicus to the Cyathostominae supports previous suggestions that it belongs to this subfamily rather than Strongylinae. Only 5 of the 10 sequences of C. montgomeryi clustered closely with 4 sequences of C. montgomeryi in the GenBank and previously isolated from zebras in Kenya. The other 5 sequences were evolutionary distinct. Similarly, only 2 of the 3 Cy. minutus sequences clustered with 2 Cy. minutus sequences from zebras in Kenya, while the other 1 was distinct and a sister to a clade having Cy. minutus sequences from horses in China and Germany. These results suggest intra-species genetic polymorphism among the C. montgomeryi and Cy. minutus isolates. The P. imparidentatum, T. nipponicus and S. vulgaris sequences were phylogenetically distinct from sequences found in the GenBank and originating from horses or donkeys in other parts of the world. This study contributes to the scanty but growing information base on equine strongyle genetics in zebras. Sequences analysed were few, due to loss of preserved larvae and poor DNA quality. Therefore, results of this study may not represent the entire equine strongyle richness in zebras in Kenya. We recommend further studies employing other protocols.

Keywords: Molecular identity, phylogeny, strongyle nematodes, plains zebras

Suggested Citation

Maina, Linda Gatwiri and Maingi, Ndichu and Nga'Nga', Chege and Waruiru, Robert and Gakuya, Francis and Kanduma, Esther, Molecular Identity and Phylogeny of Gastrointestinal Strongyle Nematodes in Migratory, Resident, and Sedentary Plains Zebras (Equus Quagga) in Masai Mara National Reserve and Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4203693 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4203693

Linda Gatwiri Maina (Contact Author)

University of Nairobi ( email )

Ndichu Maingi

University of Nairobi ( email )

Chege Nga'Nga'

University of Nairobi ( email )

Robert Waruiru

University of Nairobi ( email )

Francis Gakuya

Wildlife Research and Training Institute

Esther Kanduma

University of Nairobi ( email )

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