An isolate of Eimeria meleagridis Tyzzer, 1927 was obtained by harvesting oocysts from the ceca of a turkey from northwest Arkansas and a pure line was established by infecting birds with a single oocyst. Oocysts were first produced in the ceca of infected birds from 102 to 108 hr after inoculation and were of similar size (mean length × width, 24.9 × 17.0 μm) to those of Eimeria adenoeides Moore and Brown, 1951 and Eimeria gallopavonis Hawkins, 1952. The line was identified as E. meleagridis based upon the development of large schizonts in the midintestine, and small schizonts in the ceca. Two generations of large schizonts were found 48 and 72 hr after infection, and at least two generations of small schizonts were found from 60 to 108 hr after infection. An inoculum of 2 × 105 oocysts was found to cause a significant reduction in weight gain from days 0–3 and 0–6 after infection, suggesting that the significance of this species of Eimeria as a pathogen of turkeys should be reassessed.
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Vol. 50 • No. 4