, Volume 61, Issue 1, pp 47-52

Plasmodium dominicana n. sp. (Plasmodiidae: Haemospororida) from Tertiary Dominican amber

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Plasmodium dominicana n. sp. is described from Tertiary Dominican Republic amber. The description is based on oöcysts, sporozoites and possible microgametes and an ookinete in the body-cavity of a female Culex mosquito (Diptera: Culicidae: Culicinae). The large pedunculated oöcysts, together with the culicine vector, align the fossil with the extant avain malaria species, P. juxtanucleare Versiani & Gomes, 1941. Based on the host range of P. juxtanucleare, a possible primary host would have been a member of the order Galliformes. This discovery establishes a minimum age for the genus Plasmodium Marchiafava & Celli, 1885 and places avian malaria in the Americas by the mid-Tertiary. It also supports earlier theories that some species of primate malaria could have evolved in the Americas.