Sarcocysts were found in the tongue, diaphragm, heart, intestinal tunica muscularis, and skeletal muscle of bobcats (Felis rufus floridanus) collected in Florida (USA). The tongue was found to be the best indicator tissue for sarcocysts (P < 0.005). Thirty of 60 bobcats screened were found to contain sarcocysts in at least one of the muscle tissues examined. Of the positive bobcats, 28 of 28 tongues contained sarcocysts, while only 10 of 27 (37%), and 8 of 26 (31%) contained sarcocysts in the diaphragm or cardiac muscle, respectively. Although immune suppression has been suggested as a possible reason for formation of sarcocysts in some carnivores, no such correlation was evident in the bobcats. Comparisons of prey species taken by the panther and bobcat, and overlap of geographical range by the two species leave questions as to the source of infection, and the species of Sarcocystis that is infecting both felids.
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Vol. 28 • No. 1