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Revista de Salud Animal

versión impresa ISSN 0253-570X

Rev Salud Anim. vol.36 no.3 La Habana sep.-dic. 2014




Presence of Cooperia curticei, C. punctata and Trichostrongylus colubriformis, (Strongylida: Trichostrongylidae) in Tabasco, Mexico


Presencia de Cooperia curticei, Cooperia punctata y Trichostrongylus colubriformis, (Strongylida: Trichostrongylidae) en Tabasco, México



Roberto González-GarduñoI*, Fernando Navarro MartínezI, Javier Arece-GarcíaII

1Unidad Regional Universitaria Sursureste. Universidad Autónoma Chapingo, km 7 carretera Teapa-V. Guerrero. CP 86800, Teapa, Tabasco. México.
IIEstación Experimental de Pastos y Forrajes Indio Hatuey. Central España Republicana. CP. 44280. Matanzas, Cuba.




The aim of this study was to report and morphologically describe two small intestinal nematode genera present in cattle and sheep from Tabasco, Mexico. The specimens studied were obtained from animals for slaughter on a trail, cleared in Amann's lactophenol and their measurements were recorded using a calibrated ocular micrometer. Based on their morphologic characteristics, three species were identified: Cooperia curticei, Cooperia punctata and Trichostrongylus colubriformis. In C. curticei, the length of the tail-vulva was higher (1726.9± 194.4 mm) than in C. punctata (1422.1±151.7 mm); and the vulva shape of C. curticei was flat, while in C. punctata, it was botonous. In Cooperia males, the spicule lengths were similar in both species (139±13 mm). The differentiation was carried out morphologically; C. curticei and T. colubriformis were the species found in the small intestine of sheep, while C. puntata was found in that of cattle.

Key words: Cooperia curticei, Cooperia punctata, Trichostrongylus colubriformis, ruminants, parasites.


El objetivo del estudio fue notificar la presencia, y describir morfológicamente, dos géneros de nematodos encontrados en intestino delgado de bovinos y ovinos en Tabasco, México. Los nematodos adultos se obtuvieron de animales para abasto en un matadero; se aclararon con lactofenol de Amman y se registraron sus medidas mediante un micrómetro ocular calibrado. Según las características morfológicas, se identificaron tres especies: Cooperia curticei, Cooperia punctata y Trichostrongylus colubriformis. Se observó que la longitud de la punta de la cola a la vulva fue mayor en C. curticei (1726.9± 194.4 mm) que en C. punctata (1422.1±151.7 mm) y la forma de la vulva en C. curticei fue plana, mientras que en C. punctata fue de tipo botonosa. En los machos de Cooperia las medidas de las espículas fueron similares entre las dos especies (139±13 mm) y se diferenciaron sólo por su morfología. C. curticei y T. colubriformis fueron las especies encontradas en intestino delgado de ovinos y C. punctata en intestino delgado de bovinos.

Palabras clave: Cooperia curticei, Cooperia punctata, Trichostrongylus colubriformis, rumiantes, parásitos.




Diagnostic tests play an important role in confirming the presence of gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) in ruminants (1). Many epidemiological studies are based on nematode egg counts in faeces, morphologic identification to gender and sometimes to species in larvae from pasture and coproculture, while the confirmation of the species takes place in adult nematodes at the necropsy of animals (2). The small intestinal nematodes Cooperia curticei and Trichostongylus colubriformis has been identified in previous study, in Tabasco Mexico using the methologic characteristics (2, 3), while in Brazil, the same species are reported as strongly adapted to sheep (4) but morphometric characteristics are not reported.

In recent years, there have been some advances towards the development of molecular diagnostic tools for identifying GIN that commonly infect ruminants (1, 5, 6), but that is not available in all local institutions in which diagnosis to regional studies is required, especially when gastrointestinal nematode parasites remain as one of the major parasitic disease to ruminant production in the tropics (7). For this reason, traditional diagnostic techniques help identifying the nematode species, so the aim of this study was to report and describe morphologically two small intestinal nematode species present in cattle and sheep in Tabasco, Mexico.



Adult specimens of intestinal nematodes of sheep were obtained from a slaughterhouse in Villahermosa, Tabasco, while C. punctata was obtained from Zebu cattle slaughtered in Teapa, Tabasco. In the most places of the sheep origin, climate (Af or Am) is hot and humid, with abundant rains in summer and average temperature between 23.8 and 25.8°C (8).

Nematode collection: The small intestine was tied off into 3 m sections and washed with saline solution to collect adult nematodes. Each volume of solution was forced through the intestine by applying pressure between thumb and finger. Samples were taken to the Laboratory of Regional Universitary Sursureste Unit (URUSSE), belonging to the Autonomous University of Chapingo (UACh), to be processed. The small intestine was washed with tap water in a 400 mash (0.038 mm, Mont-inox). Specimens were cleared studied in Amann's lactophenol (2) and subsequently measurements were recorded using a calibrated ocular micrometer. Body and esophagus lengths were measured, except in C. curticei. In the males, spicules length was recorded. In females, the anterior and posterior sphincter, vestibule and tip tail-vulva lengths were measured. The test was performed to determine the differences in morphology between the two species of Cooperia (9). Specific identification of males was carried out by a morphologic key (10). Photographs were obtained with a Canon Power Shot-A 400, 3.2 Mega pixels. Digitized images were selected and edited in the Fire Works software.



Two Cooperia species C. curticei in sheep and C. puntata in cattle were identified. In females they had slow differences in the vulva shape as shown in Figure 1, C. curticei showed a flatted vulva, while in C. punctate, it was botonous. Also those species showed differences in sizes (p<0.01). Higher tail-vulva length was recorder in C. curticei (1726.9 mm) while C. punctata was slightly smaller (1422.1 mm).

The resume of the main morphological aspects measured in the three nematode species is show in Table 1. Females are not generally used to identify species, there is little information regarding morphological measures.

The morphometry of spicules in males of C. curticei and C. punctata was similar (p>0.05) (Table 2), and differentiation was carried out by morphology as suggested by Stringrellow (10). The results obtained from the morphometry of spicules were similar to other studies carried out in C. curticei (11, 12).

C. curticei spicules showed a ventral flange, without concavity, distally spicule sharply curved medially. C. punctata had a large concavity near the middle of spicule, border of concavity projects laterally at an angle from spicule shaft, ventral flange posterior to concavity not pronounced (10). An easy way to distinguish C. curticei is the rolled shape taken when fixed in formalin (Fig. 2).

In T. colubriformis, the spicules are slightly unequal in length, with a structure similar to a small boat with a thick outgrowth capping the root proximally (Figure 3). T. colubriformis corresponds to the description given by other authors (13, 14). The principal difference between T. colubriformis and Cooperia spp. was the head shape and the presence of the excretory pore in T. colubriformis (Figure 3).



To Mr. Sergio Carballo due to all facilities provided on the trail and to Mr. Natael Guillén García for his invaluable support to obtain sampling.



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Recibido: 12-12-2013.
Aceptado: 18-3-2014.



*Correspondence: Roberto González-Garduño. E-mail: