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Syst Parasitol. 2005 May;61(1):47-52.

Plasmodium dominicana n. sp. (Plasmodiidae: Haemospororida) from Tertiary Dominican amber.

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Department of Zoology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA.


Plasmodium dominicana n. sp. is described from Tertiary Dominican Republic amber. The description is based on oocysts, sporozoites and possible microgametes and an ookinete in the body-cavity of a female Culex mosquito (Diptera: Culicidae: Culicinae). The large pedunculated oocysts, together with the culicine vector, align the fossil with the extant avain malaria species, P. juxtanucleare Versiani & Gomes, 1941. Based on the host range of P. juxtanucleare, a possible primary host would have been a member of the order Galliformes. This discovery establishes a minimum age for the genus Plasmodium Marchiafava & Celli, 1885 and places avian malaria in the Americas by the mid-Tertiary. It also supports earlier theories that some species of primate malaria could have evolved in the Americas.

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