ABSTRACT

The genus Eustrongylides includes nematodes known as the etiological agent of the “big red worm disease.” The aim of this work was to identify Eustrongylides spp. larvae from fish and adults from great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) sampled at Lake Trasimeno, Italy, by morphological and molecular analysis. Histopathological description of the lesions in birds was also provided. We described adults of Eustrongylides excisus for the first time in Italy, and we also linked larval stages 3 and 4 to adults. The use of molecular tools combined with the traditional taxonomy will help the identification of the species, including species inquirendae. Moreover, molecular analysis can also help to investigate the role of intermediate and paratenic hosts, to deepen the knowledge about geographical distribution of the different Eustrongylides spp. and to define the zoonotic potential of E. excisus, which has not yet been identified as causal agent of human cases.

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