Date of this Version



Polychromophilus; bats; phylogeny; cytb; clpc; asl


Plasmodium spp. and some other blood parasites belonging to the order Haemosporida are the focus of many epidemiological studies worldwide. However, haemosporidian parasites from wild animals are largely neglected in scientific research. For example, Polychromophilus parasites, which are exclusive to bats, are described in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania, but little is known about their presence and genetic diversity in the New World. In this study, 224 samples of bats from remaining fragments of the Atlantic Forest and Pantanal biomes, as well as urbanized areas in southern and southeastern Brazil, were analyzed for the presence of haemosporidian parasites by PCR of the mitochondrial gene that encodes cytochrome b (cytb). The PCR fragments of the positive samples were sequenced and analyzed by the Bayesian inference method to reconstruct the phylogenetic relationships between Polychromophilus parasites from bats in Brazil and other countries. Sequences from Brazilian lineages of Polychromophilus were recovered in a clade with sequences from Polychromophilus murinus and close to the one Polychromophilus sequence obtained in Panama, the only available sequence for the American continent. This clade was restricted to bats of the family Vespertilionidae and distinct from Polychromophilus melanipherus, a parasite species mainly found in bats of the family Miniopteridae. The detection of Polychromophilus and the genetic proximity to P. murinus were further confirmed with the amplification of two other genes (clpc and asl). We also found a Haemosporida parasite sequence in a sample of Noctilio albiventris collected in the Pantanal biome, which presents phylogenetic proximity with avian Haemoproteus sequences. Morphological and molecular studies are still needed to conclude and describe the Polychromophilus species in Brazilian Myotis bats in more detail and to confirm Haemoproteus parasites in bats. Nevertheless, these molecular results in Brazilian bats confirm the importance of studying these neglected genera.


This is the published version of the Mathias, B.d.S.; Minozzo, G.A.; Biondo, A.W.; Costa, J.d.O.J.; Soares, H.S.; Marcili, A.; Guimarães, L.d.O.; Anjos, C.C.d.; Santos, A.P.D.; Riediger, I.N.; et al. Molecular Investigation Confirms Myotis Genus Bats as Common Hosts of Polychromophilus in Brazil. Microorganisms 2023, 11, 1531.