Aspects of the life history of Muspicea borreli (Nematoda: Muspiceidae), parasite of the house mouse ( Mus domesticus) in Australia




Spratt, David
Haycock, P
Boyden, J
Nicholas, Warwick

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Prevalence of Muspicea borreli (Nematoda) infection in wild populations of Mus domesticus in forests in southeastern New South Wales and in rural Canberra, Australia was variable, relatively low and the parasite occurred predominantly in male mice. Experimental infection of BALB/c mice occurred only via subcutaneous inoculation but was achieved using i) adults containing embryonating eggs, ii) adults containing active larvae and iii) active larvae dissected from the uterus of female worms. Experimental infection was not established using adults containing unembryonated eggs and was not established via intraperitoneal, percutaneous nor oral routes. Evidence indicates that larvae develop to the infective stage in the uterus of the adult worm, suggests that an obligate developmental phase on the host skin does not occur and that autoinfection is possible. Experimental infection predominated in males; females rarely became infected. When male BALB/c mice were inoculated subcutaneously with M. borreli, immediately paired with an uninoculated female and permitted to breed for 90 days, infection was found in male and female offspring only of the second and subsequent litters or in the breeding female partner. Transmission to the young occurred within 21 days of birth and fifth-stage M. borreli were found in offspring of the second and subsequent litters only after 35 or more days. However, when a male was inoculated but mating delayed for 23 days, infection was found in progeny of the first and second litters. The life cycle is direct and the prepatent period in BALB/c mice is estimated at 50-60 days. The precise mode of transmission of the parasite in breeding pairs of mice was not determined but larvae remained active for approximately an hour in balanced saline solutions (pH = 7.2) and in human saliva but died under conditions emulating free-living (tap water pH = 7.1) and stomach (pepsin solution pH = 2) environments. Transmission was not effected by transplacental, transmammary nor transseminal routes. Consequently, it is difficult not to conclude that transmission may occur via penetration of skin or mucous membranes, and allogrooming behaviour may be particularly important in this regard.



Keywords: animal; animal disease; article; Australia; Bagg albino mouse; disease transmission; female; growth, development and aging; host parasite interaction; life cycle; male; mouse; nematode; nematodiasis; parasitology; physiology; prevalence; rodent disease; s Australia; Distribution in wild populations; Life history; Mus domesticus; Muspicea borreli; Muspiceidoe; Nematoda





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