An experimental excystation assay was used to test the potential species isolating effects of excystation signaling among gregarines. Oocysts of a single gregarine species, Blabericola migrator, were tested for activation, excystation, and sporozoite motility by using intestinal extracts from 11 species of cockroaches representing a cohesive phylogeny of 7 genera, 3 subfamilies, and 2 families of Blattodea. Sporozoite activation, excystation, and motility were observed for all excystation assay replications using intestinal fluid from blaberid hosts, but delayed activation or excystation was observed for all assay replications using intestinal fluid from hosts in the family Blattidae. The results illustrate a trend toward a generalized excystation signal among gregarines that is conserved across the host clade at a subfamily or family level but that is unlikely to play a significant role as a species-isolating mechanism among sibling gregarine species.
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Vol. 98 • No. 5