Onchocercidae (Leiper 1911) Chabaud and Anderson 1959
Filarial nematode parasites. Several species are involved in important filariasis diseases of humans and doestic animals. Several are associated with Wolbachia bacterial endosymbionts (Bain et al., 2008).
The term ‘filarial worms’or ‘filariae’ historically denotes the genera of nematodes in the family Filariidae (Cobbold 1864) Claus 1885. This was correct until the family Onchocercidae Chabaud and Anderson 1959 was established. Most of the genera that were previously considered as filarial worms of the Filariidae were transferred to the new family Onchocercidae (including Onchocerca, Loa, Brugia, Wuchereria, Dirofilaria, Acanthocheilonema, Cercopithifilaria, Deraiophoronema, Dipetalonema, Elaeophora, Litomosoides, Mansonella and Skrjabinofilaria). Only a few genera remained in the family Filariidae (Filaria, Parafilaria, Suifilaria and Stephanofilaria).
Thus, the use of 'filarial worms' or 'filariae' for denoting onchocercids, and other nematode species of public health significance became etymologically incorrect. Both Filariidae and Onchocercidae belong to the superfamily Filarioidea. While Onchocerca spp. are etymylogically not ‘filariid worms’ they are undoubtedly biologically filarioid worms. Therefore, the use the terms 'filarioid worms' or 'filarioids' as general terms for Filariidae, Onchcercidae and other taxa of similar biology, is recommended (Kassal, 2002.).
Filarial nematodes are generally considred to be transmitted by arthropods.
Bain, O., M. Casiraghi, C. Martin and S. Uni 2008. The Nematoda Filarioidea: critical analysis linking molecular and traditional approaches. Parasite 15:342-348.
Kassal, T. 2002. A worm by any other name. Trends in Parasitology 18:246.
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