Parasitology Research

, Volume 118, Issue 5, pp 1601–1608 | Cite as

Sarcocystis species identification in the moose (Alces alces) from the Baltic States

  • Petras PrakasEmail author
  • Viktorija Kirillova
  • Rafael Calero-Bernal
  • Muza Kirjušina
  • Eglė Rudaitytė-Lukošienė
  • Miguel Ángel Habela
  • Inese Gavarāne
  • Dalius Butkauskas
Protozoology - Original Paper


Various muscle tissue samples from 60 moose (Alces alces) in the Baltic region were examined for Sarcocystis species. Sarcocysts were detected in 49 out of 60 (81.7%) moose investigated. Six species, Sarcocystis alces, Sarcocystis hjorti, Sarcocystis linearis, Sarcocystis silva, Sarcocystis ovalis, and Sarcocystis sp., were identified using light microscopy (LM), and DNA sequence analysis (cox1 and 18S rDNA). Sarcocysts of S. alces, S. ovalis, and S. hjorti were studied using transmission electron microscopy (TEM); sarcocyst walls of S. alces, S. ovalis, and S. hjorti were type 25, type 24, and type 7a, respectively. Sarcocystis linearis previously found in roe deer and red deer was also shown to use moose as an intermediate host for the first time. The unknown Sarcocystis sp. was rare and might employ another main intermediate host. Phylogenetic results demonstrated that Sarcocystis sp. was most closely related to Sarcocystis tarandivulpes, using canids as definitive hosts.


Alces alces 18S rDNA cox1 Sarcocystis Ultrastructure Phylogeny 



This research was supported by the Open Access to research infrastructure of the Nature Research Centre under Lithuanian open access network initiative. The authors are grateful to Marisa García for the excellent technical assistance during TEM operations. Our thanks also go to the reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions, which contributed to the improvement of the manuscript.


This study was funded from the project of the Research Council of Lithuania (grant no. S-MIP-17-45). R. Calero-Bernal is a receipt of a Complutense University postdoctoral grant (CT65/16).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Petras Prakas
    • 1
    Email author
  • Viktorija Kirillova
    • 2
  • Rafael Calero-Bernal
    • 3
  • Muza Kirjušina
    • 2
  • Eglė Rudaitytė-Lukošienė
    • 1
  • Miguel Ángel Habela
    • 4
  • Inese Gavarāne
    • 2
  • Dalius Butkauskas
    • 1
  1. 1.Nature Research CentreVilniusLithuania
  2. 2.Institute of Life Sciences and TechnologyDaugavpils UniversityDaugavpilsLatvia
  3. 3.SALUVET Group, Animal Health DepartmentComplutense UniversityMadridSpain
  4. 4.Animal Health DepartmentUniversity of ExtremaduraCáceresSpain

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