Systematic Parasitology

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 209–233

The present state of species-systematics in Sarcocystis Lankester, 1882 (Protista, Sporozoa, Coccidia)

  • Klaus Odening

DOI: 10.1023/A:1006090232343

Cite this article as:
Odening, K. Syst Parasitol (1998) 41: 209. doi:10.1023/A:1006090232343


The genus Sarcocystis Lankester, 1882, including the synonymous genus Frenkelia Biocca, 1968, (Sarcocystidae Poche, 1913) is revised on the basis of named species. A list is given of 189 species in continuation of the earlier lists of Levine & Tadros (1980, with 93 species) and Levine (1986, with 122 species; 1988, with 123 species including Frenkelia). Fourteen species are declared species inquirendae. Of the 122/123 species listed by Levine (1986, 1988), four are treated as synonyms and two (“ S. ruandae” and “ S. turdi”) are eliminated as nomina nuda. In addition to the name, hosts, geographical distribution, ultrastructural type of sarcocyst wall (known for 119 species), remarks on particular features and new knowledge relevant to their taxonomy, and similarities with other species (if applicable) are given together with select references. It is stressed that the ultrastructure of the sarcocyst wall is a reliable character in mature sarcocysts, contrary to misleading interpretations. The ultrastructural types of the sarcocyst wall presented by Dubey et al. (1989b) and Dubey & Odening (1998) are used. Light microscopical characteristics of the sarcocyst wall in fresh (or in frozen/thawed or formalin-fixed) sarcocysts, carefully extracted from the host cell, may be of similar value, at least in the same intermediate host species. In view of the unique stage of the sarcocyst, hapantotypes appear to be superfluous for these protozoans. Both intermediate and definitive hosts are known for 86 species. The nomenclaturally erroneous ways of treating Sarcocystis spp. used since 1975 are critically analysed. It is essential that descriptions of new species are recognisable. Knowledge of the definitive host is desirable, but not imperative in each case.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Klaus Odening

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