Documenting the microbiome diversity and distribution in selected fleas from South Africa with an emphasis on the cat flea, Ctenocephalides f. felis.

Conrad A. Matthee, Anandi Bierman, Boris R. Krasnov, Sonja Matthee, Luther Van Der Mescht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The factors that influence parasite associated bacterial microbial diversity and the geographic distributions of bacteria are not fully understood. In an effort to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between the bacterial diversity of Ctenocephalides fleas and host species and the external environment, we conducted a metagenetic analysis of 107 flea samples collected from 8 distinct sampling sites in South Africa. Pooled DNA samples mostly comprising of 2 or 3 individuals sampled from the same host, and belonging to the same genetic cluster, were sequenced using the Ion PGM™ Hi-Q™ Kit and the Ion 316™ Chip v2. Differences were detected in the microbiome compositions between Ctenocephalides felis, Ctenocephalides canis and Ctenocephalides connatus. Although based on a small sample, C. connatus occurring on wildlife harboured a higher bacterial richness when compared to C. felis on domestic animals. Intraspecific differences in the microbial OTU diversity were detected within C. f. felis that occurred on domestic cats and dogs. Different genetic lineages of C. f. felis were similar in microbial compositions but some differences exist in the presence or absence of rare bacteria. Rickettsia and Bartonella OTU's identified in South African cat fleas differ from those identified in the USA and Australia. Intraspecific microbial compositions also differ across geographic sampling sites. Generalized dissimilarity modelling showed that temperature and humidity are potentially important environmental factors explaining the pattern obtained.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)979-989
Number of pages11
JournalParasitology
Volume150
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 8 Sep 2023

Keywords

  • 16S rRNA metagenetic
  • Bartonella
  • Ctenocephalides canis
  • Ctenocephalides connatus
  • Ctenocephalides felis
  • Rickettsia
  • South Africa
  • microbiome

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Parasitology

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