In this study we describe 2 new species of coccidia (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae) parasites isolated from the feces of corncrake (Crex crex) (Gruiformes: Rallidae), bred in captivity in the U.K. Oocysts of Eimeria crecis n. sp. were approximately spherical and measured 15.3 μm (13–18) × 14.3 (12–16), providing an oocyst shape index of 1.1. A micropyle and oocyst residuum were absent, but a polar granule was present. Oocysts of Eimeria nenei n. sp. were ellipsoidal and measured 23.6 (21–26) × 18.1 (17–20), providing an oocyst shape index of 1.3. A micropyle and polar granule were present. Surveying free-living, wild adult corncrakes in Scotland (U.K.) demonstrated both parasite species to be widespread. These are the first species described to infect the corncrake, and they are distinct from those previously found to infect members of the closely related crane family (Gruiformes: Gruidae). Partial amplification and sequencing of the 18S rRNA gene and internal transcribed spacer 2 indicated a close relationship between the 2 proposed new species as a group distinct from the Eimeria species known to infect cranes. These newly identified parasite species have been associated with enteric disease in corncrakes being prepared for reproduction in captivity and reintroduction into England (U.K.).
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Vol. 99 • No. 4