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Molecular identification of Taenia spp. in the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) from Finland

  • A. LAVIKAINEN (a1), V. HAUKISALMI (a2) (a3), G. DEKSNE (a4) (a5), K. HOLMALA (a6), M. LEJEUNE (a7), M. ISOMURSU (a8), P. JOKELAINEN (a9), A. NÄREAHO (a9), J. LAAKKONEN (a9), E. P. HOBERG (a10) and A. SUKURA (a9)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 25 January 2013

Cestodes of the genus Taenia are parasites of mammals, with mainly carnivores as definitive and herbivores as intermediate hosts. Various medium-sized cats, Lynx spp., are involved in the life cycles of several species of Taenia. The aim of the present study was to identify Taenia tapeworms in the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) from Finland. In total, 135 tapeworms from 72 lynx were subjected to molecular identification based on sequences of 2 mtDNA regions, the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 and the NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 genes. Available morphological characters of the rostellar hooks and strobila were compared. Two species of Taenia were found: T. laticollis (127 samples) and an unknown Taenia sp. (5 samples). The latter could not be identified to species based on mtDNA, and the rostellar hooks were short relative to those described among other Taenia spp. recorded in felids from the Holarctic region. In the phylogenetic analyses of mtDNA sequences, T. laticollis was placed as a sister species of T. macrocystis, and the unknown Taenia sp. was closely related to T. hydatigena and T. regis. Our analyses suggest that these distinct taeniid tapeworms represent a putative new species of Taenia. The only currently recognized definitive host is L. lynx and the intermediate host is unknown.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Department of Bacteriology and Immunology, Haartman Institute, P.O. Box 21, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland. Tel. +358919126891. Fax: +358919126382. E-mail:
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