Morphological and molecular genetic analysis of Synhimantus (Synhimantus) laticeps (Rudolphi, 1819) (Nematoda, Acuariidae) from the barn owl (Tyto alba) and the common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) in Austria

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In the framework of the biodiversity initiative and barcoding project “Austrian Barcode of Life” (ABOL) post mortem examinations of the gastro-intestinal tracts of different species of wild birds were carried out and several adult helminths were retrieved. In the gizzard of two barn owls (Tyto alba) and one common kestrel (Falco tinnuculus) acuariid nematodes belonging to the species Synhimantus (Synhimantus) laticeps (Rudolphi, 1819) were discovered. This report illustrates the identification of this parasitic nematode by morphometric comparison and scanning electron microscopic photographs. Furthermore, genetic identification of individual parasites based on a fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene and the nuclear 18S ribosomal RNA gene was carried out. This report constitutes the first COI-based DNA barcoding of S. (S.) laticeps and its first record in the barn owl (Tyto alba) in Austria.

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