Rodents of Senegal and their role as intermediate hosts of Hydatigera spp. (Cestoda: Taeniidae)
Hydatigera (Cestoda: Taeniidae) is a recently resurrected genus including species seldom investigated in sub-Saharan Africa. We surveyed wild small mammal populations in the areas of Richard Toll and Lake Guiers, Senegal, with the objective to evaluate their potential role as intermediate hosts of larval taeniid stages (i.e. metacestodes). Based on genetic sequences of a segment of the mitochondrial DNA gene cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI), we identified Hydatigera parva metacestodes in 19 out of 172 (11.0%) Hubert's multimammate mice (Mastomys huberti) and one out of six (16.7%) gerbils (Taterillus sp.) and Hydatigera taeniaeformis sensu stricto metacestodes in one out of 215 (0.5%) Nile rats (Arvicanthis niloticus). This study reports epidemiological and molecular information on H. parva and H. taeniaeformis in West African rodents, further supporting the phylogeographic hypothesis on the African origin of H. parva. Our findings may indicate significant trophic interactions contributing to the local transmission of Hydatigera spp. and other parasites with similar life-cycle mechanisms. We therefore propose that further field investigations of rodent population dynamics and rodent-borne infectious organisms are necessary to improve our understanding of host-parasite associations driving the transmission risks of rodent parasites in West Africa.