The gullet worm (Gongylonema pulchrum) has been recorded from a variety of mammals worldwide. In an earlier study, we demonstrated two separate transmission cycles in cattle (Bos taurus) and wild mammals in Japan based on nucleotide sequences of the ribosomal RNA gene (rDNA) and cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (cox-1) region of mitochondrial DNA of multiple isolates of different origins. Our earlier study additionally demonstrated two major cox-1 haplotypes of G. pulchrum prevalent in cattle in Japan. In the present study, we collected G. pulchrum from cattle and goats (Capra hircus) in Alashan League, Inner Mongolia, China; Gongylonema aegypti from spiny mice (Acomys dimidiatus) in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt; and Gongylonema neoplasticum from a black rat (Rattus rattus) in Okinawa Island, Japan, to analyze their genetic relationships with G. pulchrum in Japan. The gullet worms from Alashan League had almost identical rDNA nucleotide sequences and two cox-1 haplotypes as seen in G. pulchrum from the cattle in Japan. The two rodent Gongylonema spp. had distinct rDNA nucleotide sequences compared with those of G. pulchrum; only the 18S and 5.8S rDNA sequences showed high identities at 97.2-98.7%, while the remaining sequences were less than 75% identical. The 18S, 5.8S, and 28S rDNA sequences of the two rodent Gongylonema spp. showed nucleotide identities of 99.8% (1811/1814), 100% (158/158), and 98.9% (3550/3590), respectively. The cox-1 regions showed 91.6% (338/369)-92.1% (340/369) identities, with completely identical amino acid sequences. The genetic diversities of three distinct Gongylonema spp. and their possible intraspecific genetic variation may allow us to resolve the taxonomic position of Gongylonema spp. which display few obvious morphological differences from their congeners. Consequently, the Gongylonema isolate from water buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis) in Nepal reported in our previous study is concluded to be a new species, and Gongylonema nepalensis n. sp. is erected for it.
Keywords: Genetic variation; Gongylonema aegypti; Gongylonema neoplasticum; Gongylonema nepalensis n. sp.; Gongylonema pulchrum; cox-1; rDNA.