Eimeria gruis and Eimeria reichenowi are common coccidial parasites of a number of species of cranes. Until recently, little was known about either the site for invasion or the dynamics of early development of the crane coccidia because of the difficulty of identifying sporozoites and early developmental stages of these parasites by conventional staining methods. In the present study, monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) elicited against Eimeria spp. of chickens and turkeys were found to cross-react with sporozoites and developmental stages of E. reichenowi in the tissues of Florida sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis). With these Mabs, E. reichenowi sporozoites were found in specimens taken at 6 hr postinoculation (PI) from just proximal to Meckel's diverticulum in the jejunum to the ileocecal juncture. Fewer were found in the ceca and rectum and none in the duodenal loop. At 24 hr PI, there were markedly fewer sporozoites and their location had shifted to the duodenum. No stages were seen in intestinal cells at 5 days PI (DPI), but trophozoites had developed in the liver and spleen. At 10 DPI, sexual stages were detected in the intestine from the duodenal loop through Meckel's diverticulum but not in other organs. By 14 DPI, numerous developmental stages were detected in the intestine (ceca and jejunum), liver, and lungs but not in the heart, kidney, or brain. The number, location, and maturity of the stages in the ceca differed markedly from those in the jejunum.
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