First identification of Cytauxzoon manul in Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in northwestern China

Parasit Vectors. 2024 Jun 6;17(1):249. doi: 10.1186/s13071-024-06326-1.


Background: Multiple species of the genera Cytauxzoon and Hepatozoon can infect wild felines, but the diversity of these and other apicomplexan parasites in Eurasian lynx is scarcely known. The aim of this study was to detect Cytauxzoon and Hepatozoon species with molecular methods in Eurasian lynxes and their ticks in northwestern China.

Methods: DNA was extracted from the heart, liver, spleen, lung, and kidney samples of three Eurasian lynxes as well as from their five ixodid ticks. These DNA samples were screened with polymerase chain reactions (PCRs) for Cytauxzoon with the partial cytochrome b gene (CytB), cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene (COI), and small subunit ribosomal RNA gene (18S rRNA), and Hepatozoon with three different fragments of small subunit ribosomal RNA gene (18S rRNA). PCR products were sequenced, aligned, and phylogenetically analyzed.

Results: One adult female of Eurasian lynx (#1, adult female) was co-infected with Cytauxzoon manul and Hepatozoon felis genotype I, while an adult male lynx (#2) was infected with C. manul. Interestingly, H. felis genotype I was both detected in a male cub (#3) and two out of five infesting Hyalomma asiaticum ticks.

Conclusions: For the first time, Cytauxzoon manul is reported here from Eurasian lynx. In addition, H. felis has not been known to occur in this host species in China and Central Asia. Thus, the findings of this study extend our knowledge on the geographical distribution and host range of these haemoprotozoan parasites. Moreover, this is also the first evidence of C. manul and H. felis co-infection in Eurasian lynx.

Keywords: Cytauxzoon manul; Hepatozoon felis; Eurasian lynx; Northwestern China.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • China
  • Coccidiosis / epidemiology
  • Coccidiosis / parasitology
  • Coccidiosis / veterinary
  • DNA, Protozoan / genetics
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / genetics
  • Female
  • Ixodidae / classification
  • Ixodidae / genetics
  • Ixodidae / parasitology
  • Lynx* / parasitology
  • Male
  • Phylogeny*
  • Piroplasmida* / classification
  • Piroplasmida* / genetics
  • Piroplasmida* / isolation & purification
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Protozoan Infections, Animal* / epidemiology
  • Protozoan Infections, Animal* / parasitology
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S* / genetics


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S
  • DNA, Protozoan
  • Electron Transport Complex IV