Folia Parasitologica 56 173-179 (2009) | DOI: 10.14411/fp.2009.021
Blood films were examined from 154 wild and captive tortoises from four provinces of South Africa, including Gauteng, Kwazulu-Natal, North West and Western Cape. The five species of chelonians studied were Chersina angulata (Schweigger), Kinixys belliana belliana (Gray), K. lobatsiana Power, K. natalensis Hewitt, and Stigmochelys pardalis (Bell). Two species of haemogregarines, previously reported from Mozambique, were identified in blood films, namely Haemogregarina fitzsimonsi Dias, 1953 and Haemogregarina parvula Dias, 1953. Additional stages of development (trophozoites and probable meronts, merozoites and immature gamonts) in blood preparations from South Africa warranted the redescription of H. fitzsimonsi. A variety of hosts and broad host distribution range were observed for this haemogregarine, with all five species of tortoises parasitized, wild and captive, from all four provinces, in all seasons. In contrast, only two individuals of K. b. belliana and one S. pardalis, all three captive in Kwazulu-Natal, contained H. parvula with encapsulated stages resembling those of Hemolivia mauritanica (Sergent et Sergent, 1904). For H. fitzsimonsi, parasite prevalences, but not parasitaemias, were significantly higher in captive than wild S. pardalis; captive female S. pardalis also showed a significantly greater prevalence of infection than males, but younger, lighter hosts were not significantly more heavily parasitized than older, heavier individuals. The ticks, Amblyomma marmoreum Koch, 1844 and A. sylvaticum (De Geer, 1778), found attached to some tortoises, may prove to be definitive hosts for the two species of haemogregarines observed.
Received: February 9, 2009; Accepted: March 23, 2009; Published: September 1, 2009