Nothing is known about the coccidian parasites of vagrant shrews, Sorex vagrans Baird, 1868. Here we report, for the first time, the occurrence of Eimeria longirostris Hertel and Duszynski, 1987 from faecal contents of S. vagrans from Montana, USA.
Faecal samples, collected in July and August 2020 from six pitfall-trapped vagrant shrews as well as faeces from two masked shrews, Sorex cinereus Kerr, 1792, and one American pygmy shrew, Sorex hoyi Baird, 1857 from Missoula County, Montana, USA, were examined for coccidian parasites. Samples were placed in individual vials containing aqueous potassium dichromate. They were examined for coccidia after flotation in Sheather’s sugar solution, measured, and photographed.
Three (50%) S. vagrans and one (50%) S. cinereus were found to be passing oocysts of Eimeria longirostris Hertel and Duszynski, 1987; the single S. hoyi was negative. Oocysts from S. vagrans were subspheroidal and measured (average L × W) 16.1 × 14.4 µm with an L/W ratio of 1.1. One (typically) to two polar granules was present but a micropyle and oocyst residuum were absent. Sporocysts were ovoidal and measured 9.6 × 6.2 µm with an L/W ratio of 1.6. A Stieda body was present but subStieda and paraStieda bodies were absent. The sporocyst residuum was composed of various sized granules typically scattered between and across the sporozoites but sometimes formed a loose aggregate or compact mass.
We document a new host and new geographic record for E. longirostris from S. vagrans and report the coccidian from S. cinereus for the third time but the first report from specimens from Montana. This coccidian has now been reported from at least 12 species of shrews within the genus Sorex in 14 US states and two provinces in Canada.
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We thank Drs. Scott L. Gardner and Gábor R. Rácz (HWML) for expert curatorial assistance and Russell S. Pfau (Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Texas) for confirming the identity of our hosts via molecular sequencing.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Ethical approval for shrew trapping was not required according to the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. This study followed: Sikes RS, Gannon WL (2011) Guidelines of the American Society of Mammalogists for the use of wild mammals in research. J Mamm 92:235–253.
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McAllister, C.T., Hnida, J.A. & Kinsella, J.M. Eimeria longirostris (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae) from Vagrant Shrew, Sorex vagrans (Mammalia: Eulipotyphla: Soricidae), from Montana, USA. Acta Parasit. (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11686-020-00321-z
- Sorex vagrans