Isolates of Sarcocystis falcatula–like organisms from South American opossums were characterized based on biological and morphological criteria. Sporocysts from intestinal scrapings of 1 Didelphis marsupialis and 8 Didelphis albiventris from São Paulo, Brazil, were fed to captive budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus). Budgerigars fed sporocysts from all 9 isolates became ill and S. falcatula–like schizonts were identified in sections of their lungs by immunohistochemical staining. Sarcocystis falcatula–like organisms were cultured from lungs of budgerigars fed sporocysts from D. marsupialis and from lungs of budgerigars fed sporocysts from 3 of 8 D. albiventris. The 33/54 locus amplified by polymerase chain reaction from culture-derived merozoites contained both a HinfI endonuclease recognition site previously suggested to diagnose S. falcatula and a DraI site thought to diagnosed S. neurona. Development of the isolate from D. marsupialis was studied in cell culture; its schizonts divided by endopolygeny, leaving a residual body. Morphological and genetic variation differentiated this Sarcocystis isolate originating in D. marsupialis from the Cornell 1 isolate of S. falcatula. This is the first report of a S. falcatula infection in the South American opossum, D. marsupialis.
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