Infection with Sarcocystis species is common in many species of animals, but it has not yet been reported in wolverines (Gulo gulo). Histological sections of tongues from 41 wolverines in the Kitikmeot Region, Nunavut, Canada, were examined for sarcocysts. Sarcocysts were found in 33 (80.4%) wolverines. Two structurally distinct types of sarcocysts were found. Type A sarcocysts were thin (<1 µm thick) walled. Ultrastructurally, the parasitophorous vacuolar membrane (Pvm) had minute undulations, but it lacked villar protrusions and was not invaginated into the granular layer. The bradyzoites were slender, about 5 × 1 µm in size. Structurally, these sarcocysts were distinct from known species of Sarcocystis and possessed a novel 18S and ITS-1 sequence, sharing 98% and 78% sequence similarity with Sarcocystis canis. A new species name, Sarcocystis kalvikus, is proposed for type A sarcocysts. In contrast, type B sarcocysts had relatively thicker (about 2 µm) cyst walls and larger bradyzoites, each about 10 × 2–3 µm. Ultrastructurally, the Pvm on the sarcocyst wall had villar protrusions that were either mushroom-like or sloping. Molecular analysis identified a unique 18S and ITS-1 sequence that placed them in a clade within the Sarcocystidae. Based on histology, TEM, and genetic data, the new name, Sarcocystis kitikmeotensis, is proposed. Sarcocystis kalvikus was found in 14 (34.1%), S. kitikmeotensis was found in 7 (17%), and both species were found in 12 (29.2%) of 41 wolverines.
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Vol. 96 • No. 5