Folia Parasitologica, vol. 59 (2012), issue 3

Folia Parasitologica 59[3] 167-172 (2012) | 10.14411/fp.2012.023

Four additional Hepatozoon species (Apicomplexa: Hepatozoidae) from north Florida ratsnakes, genus Pantherophis

Sam R. Telford, Jr.1, Paul E. Moler2, Jerry F. Butler3
1 The Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA
2 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 1105 SW Williston Road, Gainesville, Florida 32601, USA
3 Department of Entomology and Nematology, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, P.O. Box 110620, Gainesville, Florida 32611-0620, USA

Records from a colubrid host are reported for Hepatozoon horridus, described originally from a viperid snake. Hepatozoon horridus in Pantherophis guttatus (Colubridae) has gamonts 14-18.0 by 4.0-5.5 µm, with length by width (LW) 60-99 µm2, and L/W ratio 2.5-3.9. Spherical to elongate, usually ovoid oocysts with L/W ratio 1.0-3.7 contain 16-160 spherical to usually ovoid sporocysts 15-31 by 14-26 µm, with L/W ratio 1.0-1.4, that contain 5-24 sporozoites. Two additional Hepatozoon species are described from ratsnakes in north Florida. Hepatozoon quadrivittata n. sp. from Pantherophis obsoletus quadrivittatus has gamonts 12-17 by 4-6 µm, LW 56-102 µm2, and L/W ratio 2.6-3.8. Nearly spherical oocysts with L/W 1.0-1.1 contain 5-227 spherical to slightly ovoid sporocysts 20-48 by 19-45 µm, with L/W ratio 1.0-1.4, that contain 13-48 sporozoites. Hepatozoon spiloides n. sp. from Pantherophis obsoletus spiloides forms gamonts 12-15 by 4-5 µm with LW 48-75 µm2 and L/W ratio 2.6-3.5. Occasionally rounded but usually elongate oocysts, with L/W ratio 1.0-2.7, contain 5-21 spherical to elongate sporocysts 28-43 by 18-35 µm, L/W ratio 2.5-3.9. In the distinctive Hepatozoon sp. present in Pantherophis obsoletus spiloides, gamonts are 13-17 by 5-10 µm, with LW 75-140 µm2 and L/W ratio 1.4-3.0. Infected erythrocytes are always distorted and enlarged on average 2.5 times the size of uninfected cells, with nuclei enlarged by one-third and broadly elongated. Gamonts often stained deep blue, and cytoplasm of erythrocytes infected with mature gamonts was always dehemoglobinized. Sporogony could not be obtained in three feedings by hundreds of Aedes aegypti, which usually died within the first 24-48 hr.

Keywords: blood parasites, hemogregarines, Hepatozoon horridus, Hepatozoon quadrivittata, Hepatozoon spiloides, Pantherophis guttatus, Pantherophis obsoletus quadrivittatus, Pantherophis obsoletus spiloides, Florida

Received: April 12, 2012; Accepted: July 27, 2012; Published: September 21, 2012


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