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J Parasitol. 1988 Aug;74(4):519-23.

A plea for improved presentation of type material for coccidia.

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Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque 87131.


The "true" coccidia (phylum Apicomplexa, suborder Eimeriina) constitute a large and heterogeneous group of parasitic protozoa. Despite the large number of described species (ca. 1,650) and the medical and veterinary importance of some (e.g., Toxoplasma), 2 facts are clear: (1) the majority of coccidia species are probably yet undescribed, and (2) the phylogenetic relationships of those described species are poorly known. Contributing to the latter dilemma is the lack of a tradition to provide type specimens by those who describe new species, even though the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature specifically recommends the designation of a type specimen with the description of a new species. With the publication of a new edition of the Code (1985), explicit provisions are made for the unique concerns of taxonomists working with Protozoa. Here we remind those interested in the taxonomy of coccidia of an already established method for preserving oocysts in resin and, as an alternative, suggest the standardization of a photographic procedure through which type specimens of coccidia oocysts might also be submitted to and maintained in accredited museums. Thus, coccidia taxonomists should no longer have an excuse for their failure to designate types.

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