Folia Parasitologica, vol. 61 (2014), issue 1

Folia Parasitologica 61[1] 11-17 (2014) | 10.14411/fp.2014.002

Description of Sarcocystis lari sp. n. (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae) from the great black-backed gull, Larus marinus (Charadriiformes: Laridae), on the basis of cyst morphology and molecular data

Petras Prakas1, Liuda Kutkienė1, Dalius Butkauskas1, Aniolas Sruoga2, Mečislovas Žalakevičius1
1 Nature Research Centre, Akademijos, Vilnius, Lithuania;
2 Vytautas Magnus University, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Biology, Kaunas, Lithuania

A morphological type of Sarcocystis cysts found in one of two examined great black-backed gull, Larus marinus (Linnaeus) (Laridae), is considered to represent a new species for which the name Sarcocystis lari sp. n. is proposed and its description is provided. The cysts are ribbon-shaped, very long (the largest fragment found was 6 mm long) and relatively narrow (up to 75 μm). Under a light microscope the cyst wall reaches up to 1 μm and seems to be smooth. Using a computerized image analysis system, knolls, which resemble protrusions on the wall surface, are visible. Lancet-shaped cystozoites measure in average 6.9 × 1.4 μm (range 6.3-7.9 μm × 1.2-1.5 μm) in length. Observed using Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), the cyst wall is wavy and measures up to 1.2 μm in thickness. The parasitophorous vacuolar membrane has regularly arranged small invaginations. Cyst content is divided into large chambers by septa. Sarcocystis lari sp. n. has type-1 tissue cyst wall and is morphologically indistinguishable from other bird Sarcocystis species characterized by the same type of the wall. On the basis of 18S rRNA gene, 28S rRNA gene and ITS-1 region sequences, S. lari is a genetically distinct species, being most closely related to avian Sarcocystis species whose definitive hosts are predatory birds.

Keywords: Heteroxenous coccidia, new species, taxonomy, electron microscopy, 18S rDNA, 28S rDNA, ITS-1, phylogeny

Received: January 2, 2013; Accepted: June 24, 2013; Prepublished online: January 10, 2014; Published: January 11, 2014


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