Intraerythrocytic development of the adeleorin apicomplexans Hepatozoon clamatae and Hepatozoon catesbianae were investigated in the bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana, the green frog, Rana clamitans melanota, and the Northern leopard frog, Rana pipiens. Merozoites emerging from hepatic meronts penetrated erythrocytes and underwent 1–3 rounds of binary fission to produce 2–8 merozoites. Following their release from infected erythrocytes, individual merozoites entered new cells and transformed into gamonts. Although this is the first report of intraerythrocytic development for a fully described species of Hepatozoon, a phylogenetic reanalysis of 11 species of Hepatozoon, 6 species representative of the 5 other hemogregarine taxa, 2 species of dactylosomatids, and 2 species of piroplasms, indicates that asexual reproduction of parasites within blood cells of vertebrates has arisen at least 3 times in the apicomplexan lineage that includes adeleorins and piroplasms. This method of asexual development, which is also observed in species of hemospororin genera such as Plasmodium, is discussed in the context of the evolution of apicomplexan life cycles. In addition to supporting the paraphyly of the genus Hepatozoon determined in an earlier study, this phylogenetic analysis featured a monophyletic group, consisting of the sister taxa Hemolivia and Karyolysus, that was the sister group to a clade consisting of the more derived hemogregarines, the dactylosomatids, and the piroplasms.
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