Projekt badawczy

Temat; Understanding the ecology and evolution of host-parasite interactions with the example of Geckobia mites (Acariformes: Pterygosomatidae) and Hemidactylus geckos (Sauria: Gekkonidae) from the Indian Subcontinent” awarded by the European Molecular Biology Organization.

Nr projektu: EMBO-8277

European Molecular Biology Organization

W projekcie biorą udział:

Dr Monika Fajfer – head of the project, investigation of mites, phylogenetic analysis (UKSW, Warszawa; Centre for Ecological Science [CES], Indie)
Prof. Praveen Katanth – investigation of geckos, phylogenetic analysis (CES, Indie)

Cel prowadzonych badań – hipoteza badawcza

The main goal of the project is extensive taxonomic study of the permanent highly host-specific mites of the genus Geckobia (Pterygosomatidae) living on geckos (Gekkonidae: Hemidactylus) from the Indian subcontinent. For the first time the traditional taxonomical approach will be accompanied by DNA-based methods in the investigation of pterygosomatids. We will clarify systematic inconsistencies previously reported in the literature about this group of parasites and explore the relative importance of morphological and genetic traits for the systematic of Geckobia mites. The proposed reconstruction of phylogenies of the genus Geckobia will give insight into the origin and subsequent evolution of parasitism in this group of mites. Finally, the comparison of the received data about the mite biodiversity, distribution and phylogenetic relationships with the existing hypotheses of host’s phylogeny and biogeography will be conducted. As a result, the associations of mites will be used as an external tool for validation of various Hemidactylus phylogenetic and biogeographical hypotheses.

Rezultaty badań

I found a new species of Pimeliaphilus on several Hemidactylus geckos in IISc campus. For the first time for the genus, the standard morphological description of a species is supplemented by cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) and nuclear ribosomal genes: 18S rDNA and hypervariable region D2 of nuclear 28S rRNA. Additionally, the studies address specialization among Pimeliaphilus hemidactyli sp. nov. using 2 measures of host specificity: (1) the number host species used by the mites species at the study area; and (2) a measure that considers the taxonomic distinctness of the hosts used by the mite, weighted for its prevalence in the different hosts. Results of this study indicate this species is highly host specific (stenoxenous species), and in the presence of coexisting gecko species it prefers Murray’s house gecko (H. murrayi) as a host (prevalence of 41%). I work on second manuscript in which I plan to construct phylogeny of Geckobia mites and I will analyze the host-parasite relationship between Geckobia mites and Hemidactylus geckos. I currently describe new Geckobia species (the standard morphological description of new species and re-descriptions of already known Geckobia species are supplemented by coxI and nuclear genes). For the first time, the genetic variation (inter- and intraspecific and population genetic variation) of the mites is analyzed.

Najważniejsze prace

Fajfer M., Karanth P. Integrating morphological description with DNA barcode data of a new species of the genus Pimeliaphilus (Acariformes: Pterygosomatidae) with the analysis of its host specificity and a key to the genus. Systematic & Applied Acarology (w recenzji)

Geckoba mites on Hemidactylus geckos