North American woodrats or packrats (genus Neotoma) are excellent hosts of coccidians and several species remain to be reported as hosts. Eleven species of Eimeria have been previously described from Neotoma spp. However, it has been nearly 35 years, since the last eimerian (E. ladronensis Reduker and Duszynski, 1985) was described from any woodrat species.
Six adult eastern woodrats, Neotoma floridana (Ord, 1818) were collected with Sherman live traps from Blue Haze Vista, Polk County, Arkansas, USA. Fecal specimens or rectal contents were examined for coccidia. Measurements were taken on 30 sporulated oöcysts and photographs were taken using brightfield optics.
One (17%) eastern woodrat was found to be passing oocysts of Eimeria machardyi n. sp. as well as three (50%) with Eimeria albigulae Levine, Ivens, and Kruidenier, 1957, and two (33%) with Eimeria glauceae Wheat and Ernst, 1974. We provide a description of a new species of Eimeria from eastern woodrats, Neotoma floridana, the first photomicrograph of E. glauceae, and additional information on E. albigulae. A summation of the eimerians of North American woodrats is also provided.
Nine of 13 (69%) species of packrats north of México have now been reported to harbor 12 species of eimerians. Additional surveys of Neotoma spp. which have not yet been reported as hosts, particularly those from México and Central America, should yield more eimerians and distributional records as well as the possibility of discovery of new species.
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The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission provided a scientific collecting permit to CTM. Dr. Thomas J. Fayton (Cornell University, Ithaca, NY) and Nikolas H. McAllister (Lukfata Elementary, Broken Bow, OK) assisted in collecting. Drs. Scott L. Gardner and Gabor Racz (HWML) provided expert curatorial assistance. Drs. Laurence M. Hardy and Jeff Pittman (Ouachita Mountains Biological Station, Big Fork, AR) provided gratis housing for CTM during this study.
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On behalf of the coauthor, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
All applicable international, national and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All animals in this study were wild-caught species euthanised in accordance with the guidelines set out in the 2016 Guidelines of the American Society of Mammalogists for the use of wild mammals in research and education.
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McAllister, C.T., Hnida, J.A. A New Species of Eimeria (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae) from Eastern Woodrat, Neotoma floridana (Rodentia: Cricetidae), from Arkansas, USA, and a Summation of Eimerians from North American Woodrats. Acta Parasit. 65, 335–340 (2020). https://doi.org/10.2478/s11686-020-00167-5
- Eimeria machardyi
- Eimeria albigulae
- Eimeria glauceae
- Neotoma floridana
- Eastern woodrat