Triet Truong - Genetic barcoding of marine leeches (Ozobranchus spp.) from Florida sea turtles and their divergence in host specificity

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      Publication Details (including relevant citation   information):

      McGOWIN, A. E., TRUONG, T. M., CORBETT, A. M., BAGLEY, D. A.,   EHRHART,  L. M., BRESETTE, M. J., WEEGE, S. T. and CLARK, D.   (2011), Genetic  barcoding of marine leeches   (Ozobranchus spp.) from Florida sea  turtles and   their divergence in host specificity. Molecular Ecology    Resources, 11: 271–278. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-0998.2010.02946.x

      Abstract:

      Ozobranchus margoi and Ozobranchus branchiatus  are the only two species of marine turtle leeches   (Ozobranchus spp.) known to inhabit the Atlantic coast   of the United States and the  Gulf of Mexico. In early   reports of fibropapillomatosis (FP) in green  turtles   (Chelonia mydas), O. branchiatus was    implicated as a vector in the transmission of   Fibropapilloma-associated  turtle herpesvirus (FPTHV). It is   imperative that the leech species be  identified to   elucidate the role Ozobranchus spp. may play in disease   transmission. In this study, Ozobranchus branchiatus has   been identified for the first time on a loggerhead (Caretta   caretta)  turtle, and the molecular data for this   species is now available for  the first time in GenBank.   Both species of leeches were also found  infecting a single   C. mydas. Using morphological taxonomy  combined   with distance- and character-based genetic sequence   analyses,  this study has established a DNA barcode for both   species of Ozobranchus spp. leech and has shown it can   be applied successfully to the  identification of leeches at   earlier stages of development when  morphological taxonomy   cannot be employed. The results suggest a  different   haplotype may exist for O. branchiatus leeches found on   C. caretta versus C. mydas. Leech cocoon   residue collected from a C. mydas was identified using   the new method.

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