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J Parasitol. 2010 Feb;96(1):162-9. doi: 10.1645/GE-2161.1.

Three new Hepatozoon species (Apicomplexa: Hepatozoidae) infecting the Florida kingsnake, Lampropeltis getula floridana.

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The Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA.


The Florida kingsnake, Lampropeltis getula floridana, is host to 3 species of Hepatozoon at the type locality, Miramar, Broward County, Florida, and 2, possibly all 3, species at Cedar Key, Levy County, approximately 480 km to the northwest. Hepatozoon eurytopis, n. sp. was present also in Diadophis punctatus and Elaphe guttata in Jupiter Farms, Palm Beach County, and in Thamnophis sirtalis at Gainesville, Alachua County. Specific identity in D. punctatus was determined from gamont morphology and from sporogonic stages and gamont morphology in the infections obtained from E. guttata and T. sirtalis. Infection with all 3 species by ingestion of infected mosquitoes was easily obtained in E. guttata, but only H. eurytopis produced experimental infection in T. sirtalis and Storeria occipitomaculata. Hepatozoon eurytopis differed from the other 2 species, H. karyolysi n. sp. and H. rexi n. sp., by its short and broad, recurved gamonts with average dimensions 11.2-13.1 x 4.5-5.4 microm, length x maximum width (LW) 56-64 microm(2), and L/W ratios 2.13-2.80 in all host species, large round oocysts 95-303 x 91-285 microm, L/W ratios 1.03-1.05 with spherical to ovoid sporocysts 22-50 x 21-44 microm, L/W ratios 1.00-1.82 that contain 33.5-44.4 (16-76) sporozoites. The nucleus in immature gamonts is highly irregular, often fragmented in separate masses of chromatin, and commonly appears to form binucleate gamonts before maturity. Hepatozoon karyolysi has elongate, non-recurved gamonts, 15-20 x 4-7 microm, LW 64-143 microm(2), L/W ratios 2.3-4.5 that usually cause lysis or irregular margins of the nucleus in infected erythrocytes of the type host. Oocysts are spherical, 127-243 x 122-233 microm, L/W ratio 1.0-1.1 that contain spherical to usually ovoid sporocysts 17-30 x 17-24 microm, and produce 12-20 sporozoites. Gamonts of Hepatozoon rexi are non-recurved, 14-18 x 4-6 microm, LW 67-102 microm(2), and L/W ratio 2.8-4.1, and are usually surrounded by a prominent cyst wall within the host erythrocyte. Oocysts are nearly spherical, 103-178 x 103-172 microm, form usually elongate sporocysts, 30-39 x 20-25 microm L/W ratio 1.33-1.94 that contain 16-36 sporozoites. An oocyst of H. eurytopis was present in the salivary gland of an infected Aedes aegypti , which is the second report of sporogony by a Hepatozoon species occurring in this site.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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