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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #319502

Title: Sarcocystis mehlhorni n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae) from the black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus)

item VERMA, SHIV - Non ARS Employee
item SCHAFER, LAURENCE - Us Fish And Wildlife Service
item VAN WILPE, EMA - University Of Pretoria
item Dubey, Jitender

Submitted to: Parasitology Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/21/2015
Publication Date: 9/8/2015
Citation: Calero-Bernal, R., Verma, S., Cerqueira-Cezar, C., Schafer, L., Van Wilpe, E., Dubey, J.P. 2015. Sarcocystis mehlhorni n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae) from the black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus). Parasitology Research. 114:4397-4403.

Interpretive Summary: Coccidian parasites in the phylum Apicomplexa include myriad parasites that are transmitted when a definitive host consumes the infected tissue of an intermediate host, or when an intermediate host consumes water or food contaminated with the feces of a definitive host. Toxoplasma gondii is an important zoonotic parasite that compromises food safety by infecting tissues of food animals and by contaminating produce. This parasite is difficult to distinguish from many similar parasites that cause no known risk to human health. Among these are parasites in the genus Sarcocystis known to cause encephalitis in a variety of mammalian and avian hosts. Here we describe a species of Sarcocystis in black tailed deer, to remove the existing confusion in literature. When species names are applied to organisms lacking meticulously described attributes and lacking voucher reference materials, imprecise scientific communication and incorrect diagnoses result.” This paper should be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and veterinarians.

Technical Abstract: Infection with Sarcocystis is common in many species of wild cervids but none is reported from the black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus). Here, we report Sarcocystis infection in two black-tailed deer from northwest USA for the first time. Sarcocysts were microscopic, up to 556 µm long and mature. The sarcocyst wall was up to 1.39 µm thick, and had rectangular 1.17 µm long villar protrusions, type 17, with thin (230 nm) electron dense ground substance layer. Molecular characterization and phylogenetic analysis indicated that Sarcocystis in the black-tailed deer is related to structurally distinct Sarcocystis species in cervids. A new name, Sarcocystis hemionisi, is proposed for the Sarcocystis species in black-tailed deer.