Original Paper

Parasitology Research

, Volume 103, Issue 5, pp 1213-1228

First online:

New species of haemosporidian parasites (Haemosporida) from African rainforest birds, with remarks on their classification

  • Gediminas ValkiūnasAffiliated withInstitute of Ecology, Vilnius University Email author 
  • , Tatjana A. IezhovaAffiliated withInstitute of Ecology, Vilnius University
  • , Claire LoiseauAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, San Francisco State University
  • , Anthony ChasarAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, San Francisco State University
  • , Thomas B. SmithAffiliated withCenter for Tropical Research, University of California, Los Angeles
  • , Ravinder N. M. SehgalAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, San Francisco State University

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Plasmodium (Novyella) megaglobularis n. sp. was recorded in the olive sunbird Cyanomitra olivacea, and Plasmodium (Novyella) globularis n. sp. and Haemoproteus (Parahaemoproteus) vacuolatus n. sp. were found in the yellow-whiskered greenbul Andropadus latirostris in rainforests of Ghana and Cameroon. These parasites are described based on the morphology of their blood stages and a segment of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene, which can be used for molecular identification and diagnosis of these species. Illustrations of blood stages of new species are given, and phylogenetic analysis identifies deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) lineages closely related to these parasites. Traditional taxonomy of avian pigment-forming haemosporidians of the families Plasmodiidae and Haemoproteidae is discussed based on the recent molecular phylogenies of these parasites. We conclude that further work to increase the number of precise linkages between haemosporidian DNA sequences and their corresponding morphospecies is needed before revising the current classification of haemosporidians. This study emphasises the value of both the polymerase chain reaction and microscopy in the identification of avian haemosporidian parasites.