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Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2003 Jan;98(1):103-13. Epub 2003 Apr 9.

Development of Hepatozoon caimani (Carini, 1909) Pess a, De Biasi & De Souza, 1972 in the Caiman Caiman c. crocodilus, the frog Rana catesbeiana and the mosquito Culex fatigans.

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Departamento de Parasitologia, Instituto Evandro Chagas, 66090-000, Belém, Pará, Brasil.

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  • Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2003 Mar;98(2):following 291.


The sporogony of Hepatozoon caimani has been studied, by light microscopy, in the mosquito Culex fatigans fed on specimens of the caiman Caiman c. crocodilus showing gametocytes in their peripheral blood. Sporonts iniciate development in the space between the epithelium of the insect gut and the elastic membrane covering the haemocoele surface of the stomach. Sporulating oocysts are clustered on the gut, still invested by the gut surface membrane. Fully mature oocysts were first seen 21 days after the blood-meal. No sporogonic stages were found in some unidentified leeches fed on an infected caiman, up to 30 days following the blood-meal. When mosquitoes containing mature oocysts were fed to frogs (Leptodactylus fuscus and Rana catesbeiana), cysts containing cystozoites developed in the internal organs, principally the liver. Feeding these frogs to farm-bred caimans resulted in the appearance of gametocytes in their peripheral blood at some time between 59 and 79 days later, and the development of tissue cysts in the liver, spleen, lungs and kidneys. Transmission of the parasite was also obtained by feeding young caimans with infected mosquitoes and it is suggested that both methods occur in nature. The finding of similar cysts containing cystozoites in the semi-aquatic lizard Neusticurus bicarinatus, experimentally fed with infected C. fatigans, suggests that other secondary hosts may be involved.

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