Synoptic data and an understanding of helminth parasite diversity among diverse rodent assemblages across temperate latitudes of North America remain remarkably incomplete. Renewed attention to comprehensive survey and inventory to establish the structure of biodiverse faunas is essential in providing indicators and proxies for identifying the outcomes of accelerating change linked to climate warming and anthropogenic forcing. Subsequent to the description of Hymenolepis folkertsi in the oldfield mouse, Peromyscus polionotus, additional specimens of hymenolepidids were collected or discovered in archived museum repositories from multiple species of deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus, Peromyscus leucopus), the golden mouse (Ochrotomys nuttalli), chipmunks (Tamias striatus, Tamias amoenus), the 13-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus), and tree squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis, Sciurus niger) from disjunct localities in the USA spanning southern Georgia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Wisconsin, and central Idaho. Specimens were largely consistent morphologically with the original description of H. folkertsi. Initial DNA sequence data, from a portion of the mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1, demonstrated intraspecific variation among three apparently geographically isolated populations attributed to H. folkertsi (uncorrected genetic distances of 2.7 % (Idaho and Michigan), 2.4 % (Virginia + Pennsylvania and Michigan), and 1.89 % (VA + PA and ID). Geography rather than host association explains the distribution and occurrence of H. folkertsi, and host colonization among deer mice, chipmunks, and other sciurids within regional sites is indicated. Genetic divergence revealed across localities for H. folkertsi suggests historically isolated populations, consistent with extended evolutionary and biogeographic trajectories among hymenolepidids and species of Peromyscus and Tamias in North America. Field inventory, that revealed these parasite populations, substantially alters our understanding of the distribution of diversity and provides insights about the nature of the complex relationships that serve to determine cestode faunas in rodents.
Hoberg, E. P., Makarikov, A. A., Tkach, V. V., Meagher, S., Nims, T. N., Eckerlin, R. P., & Galbreath, K. E. (2016). Insights on the host associations and geographic distribution of Hymenolepis folkertsi (Cestoda: Hymenolepididae) among rodents across temperate latitudes of North America. Parasitology Research, 115(12), 4627–4638. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-016-5255-3