Wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus L.) as intermediate host for Mesocestoides canislagopodis (Rudolphi, 1810) (Krabbe 1865) in Iceland

Damien Jouet*, Aðalsteinn Örn Snæþórsson, Karl Skírnisson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mesocestoides canislagopodis is a common parasite of the arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) in Iceland. In the past, household dogs (Canis familiaris) and cats (Felis catus) were also reported in Iceland to be infected. Recently, scolices of a non-maturing Mesocestoides sp. were detected in the intestines of the gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus), and tetrathyridia were isolated in the body cavity of rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) and subsequently described. All stages were confirmed, using both morphological and molecular methods, to belong to the same species, M. canislagopodis. In the present study, post-mortem examination of wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus), sampled in autumn 2014 on a farm in Northeast Iceland, revealed the presence of tetrathyridia in the peritoneal cavity and in the liver. Most tetrathyridia in the peritoneal cavity were free, but some were encapsulated in a thin connective tissue stroma and loosely attached to the inner organs. They appear as whitish, heart-shaped, flattened, unsegmented bodies with a slightly pointed posterior end. In the liver, tetrathyridia were seen as pale-tanned nodules embedded in the parenchyma. Comparative molecular analysis, both at the generic level (D1 domain LSU ribosomal DNA), and at the specific level (cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (cox1) and 12S mitochondrial DNA), revealed that the tetrathyridia belonged to M. canislagopodis. A. sylvaticus represents a new second intermediate host record in Iceland, and the first description of a rodent as intermediate host for this species, thus participating in the life cycle of the parasite.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2119-2134
Number of pages16
JournalParasitology Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

Other keywords

  • Apodemus sylvaticus
  • Iceland
  • Mesocestoides canislagopodis
  • Molecular biology
  • Morphology
  • Tetrathyridia


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