A new species, Sarcocystis lindsayi n. sp., is proposed for a parasite resembling Sarcocystis falcatula. It was obtained from the lungs and muscles of budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) fed sporocysts from a naturally-infected South American opossum, Didelphis albiventris, from Jaboticabal, Brazil. Sarcocysts of S. lindsayi n. sp. in budgerigars are microscopic, up to 600 μm long and up to 50 μm wide. The cyst wall is up to 2 μm thick. Ultrastructurally, the sarcocyst wall consists of numerous slender villar protrusions (up to 2.0 μm long and up to 0.3 μm wide), each with a stylet at its tip. Schizonts in cell culture divide by endopolygeny leaving a residual body. Sporocysts are ∼ 12 × 7 μm. The parasite is genetically distinct from other organisms that also cycle between opossums and avian species and resemble S. falcatula. Diagnostic genetic variation has been observed in the nuclear large subunit ribosomal RNA gene, the internal transcribed spacer (ITS-1), and each of two other genetic loci. Although the structure of the sarcocyst wall may not provide sufficient grounds for differential diagnosis, several other attributes including schizont morphology and genetic variation at each of these genetic loci permit identification of S. lindsayi n. sp.. Natural intermediate hosts for S. lindsayi n. sp. are not known, and fuller characterization of these and other Sarcocystis species would benefit from experimental avian hosts that are more permissive to the maturation of sarcocysts.
The Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology
Vol. 48 • No. 5
Vol. 48 • No. 5