Prevalence of Hepatozoon spp. (Apicomplexa, Hepatozoidae) among recently captured Brazilian snakes

Prevalência de Hepatozoon spp. (Apicomplexa, Hepatozoidae) em serpentes recém-capturadas no Brasil

L.H. O'Dwyer T.C. Moço T.H. Barrella F.C. Vilela R.J. Silva About the authors

The goal of this study was to determine the prevalence of Hepatozoon spp. infection in recently captured snakes from Botucatu, São Paulo State, Brazil. Blood was collected from all snakes by ventral tail venipuncture. Blood smears were air dried, fixed with methanol, and stained with 10% Giemsa solution. The slides were microscopically examined for detection of hemoparasites by light microscopy at 250x magnification. A total of 238 snakes from 23 species were examined, of which 135 (56.7%) were venomous and 103 (43.3%) non-venomous snakes. The more numerous venomous species sampled were Crotalus durissus terrificus (n=108) and Bothrops jararaca (n=17) and non-venomous snakes were Oxyrhopus guibei (n=35), Boa constrictor amarali (n=18), and Waglerophis merremi (n=13). Hepatozoon spp. infection was detected in 39 (16.4%) snakes. The prevalence in venomous and non-venomous snakes was 20.0% and 11.7%, respectively. The highest prevalences observed were 38.9% for Boa constrictor amarali, 35.3% for Bothrops jararaca, and 19.4% for Crotalus durissus terrificus.

snake; Hepatozoon; prevalence; infection

Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Escola de Veterinária Caixa Postal 567, 30123-970 Belo Horizonte MG - Brazil, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2041, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2042 - Belo Horizonte - MG - Brazil