Moving reptiles?  Use our snake and lizard quarantine PCR panel to avoid spreading contagious agents.

Ruminating about hoofstock issues?  Try our ruminant fecal screening PCR panel - tests for most common GI pathogens in wild & domestic ruminants.

Our Rodent Infestation PCR Panel tests for 5 common pathogens found in rodent-contaminated facilities.

In over your head? Try our waterborne pathogens PCR panel - detection of 7 different environmental pathogens by real time PCR.

Something fishy going on in your tanks? Try our new Zebrafish screening PCR panel - tests for 6 different pathogen categories from one easy-to-collect sample.

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Raillietiella PCR test

wildlife and zoo assay data sheet

Raillietiella orientalis

Test code:
X0038 - Ultrasensitive qualitative detection of Raillietiella orientalis by real time PCR.


Raillietiella orientalis belongs to a group of parasites called Pentastomida. These parasites are also known as "tongue worms" because the shape of the adult form looks similar to a long tongue.  Molecular and earlier phylogenetic studies indicate that they may be characterized as degenerate crustaceans. They are obligate parasites in the respiratory tract of terrestrial vertebrates, especially reptiles.

Raillietiella orientalis is common throughout southeastern Asia and Australia, but in recent years it has started to appear in southern Florida due to the introduction of Burmese pythons (Python bivittatus) in the 1990s. It has now spread to other snake species; for example, it has been recovered from lung, trachea, oral cavity, and esophagus of banded water snakes (Nerodia fasciata) in north central Florida.

The life cycle of Raillietiella orientalis and most other pentastomids consists of two sexes, and internal fertilization is used to produce eggs. The eggs are either coughed out by the host or leave the host body through the digestive tract. When the eggs are ingested by an intermediate host such as a fish or frog, the eggs hatch to produce larvae which penetrate the wall of the intestine to migrate to various parts of the host body to form cysts. The larva is initially rounded in form, with four or six short legs, but molts several times culminating in the adult form. When an intermediate host is eaten by the definitive host, the adult worm crawls from the esophagus of the definitive host into its respiratory tract.

The prevalence of Raillietiella orientali infection in the United States is not clear; however, approximately 38% of the wild snakes in Australia have been reported to be infected with this parasite (Kelehear et al. 2013). The study of this parasite is often difficult because it is hard to differentiate the species from other pentastomids by morphology alone. However, molecular detection by PCR can be used to identify this species diagnostically. Besides its high sensitivity and specificity for detection in host samples, PCR can enable rapid environmental screening of habitats or captive enclosures for potential infestation by the eggs of this parasite.


  • Help confirm the presence of this parasite
  • Help identify parasite carriers
  • Help ensure that animals are free of this parasite
  • Help ensure that habitats and animal care facilities are free of this parasite
  • Early prevention of spread of this parasite between animals
  • Minimize human exposure to this parasite
  • Safety monitoring of biological products that derive from susceptible animals

Kelehear, C., Spratt, D.M., O'Meally, D. and Shine, R. (2013) Pentastomids of wild snakes in the Australian tropics. Int. J. Parasitol. Parasites Wildl. 3:20-31.

Specimen requirement: Saliva swab, oral swab, stomach lavage, feces, fecal swab, biofilm swab, or environmental swab.

Contact Zoologix if advice is needed to determine an appropriate specimen type for a specific diagnostic application. For specimen types not listed here, please contact Zoologix to confirm specimen acceptability and shipping instructions.

For all specimen types, if there will be a delay in shipping, or during very warm weather, refrigerate specimens until shipped and ship with a cold pack unless more stringent shipping requirements are specified. Frozen specimens should be shipped so as to remain frozen in transit. See shipping instructions for more information.

Turnaround time: 2 business days

Methodology: Qualitative real time PCR

Normal range: Nondetected

Capillaria / Pseudocapillaroides PCR test

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