Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Sarcocystis sp. from the goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) and the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos): cyst morphology and ribosomal DNA analysis

  • 132 Accesses

  • 14 Citations


By light microscopy, cysts of Sarcocystis sp. (cyst type I) from the goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) seemed filamentous with a smooth and thin (<1 μm) cyst wall. Ultrastructurally, the cyst wall surface was irregular with minute undulations of the primary cyst wall. These sarcocysts had type-1 cyst wall. Cystozoites were banana-shaped and measured 7.0–8.5 μm in length. By light microscopy, cysts of Sarcocystis sp. (cyst type II) from the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) were ribbon-shaped, very long, and thin. On the surface of the wall (up to 1.5 μm), they had palisade-like villar protrusions closely crowded together. Electron micrographs showed villar protrusions (up to 1.3 μm in length) different in size and shape. The latter had short microprojections especially obvious in the oblique sections. Cystozoites were slightly bent with blunt ends, broader at one end, and measured 13.0–16.1 × 1.8–2.5 μm. Phylogenetic analysis based on the comparison of partial 28S rRNR gene sequences of Sarcocystis sp. (cyst type II) derived from the mallard, Sarcocystis sp. (cyst type I) and Sarcocystis sp. (cyst type III) both derived from the white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons) suggested that these sequences belonged to separate Sarcocystis species.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4


  1. Aljanabi MS, Martinez I (1997) Universal and rapid Salt-extraction of high quality genomic DNA for PCR-based techniques. Nucleic Acids Res 25:1772–1773

  2. Chabreck RH (1965) Sarcosporidiosis in ducks in Louisiana. Transactions of the Thirtieth North American Wildlife Conference, pp 174–184

  3. Cornwell G (1963) New waterfowl host records for Sarcocystis rileyi and a review of sarcosporidiosis in birds. Avian Dis 7:212–216

  4. Drouin TE, Mahrt JL (1979) The prevalence of Sarcocystis Lankester, 1882, in some birds species in western Canada, with notes on its life cycle. Can J Zool 57:1915–1921

  5. Drouin TE, Mahrt JL (1980) The morphology of cysts of Sarcocystis infecting birds in western Canada. Can J Zool 58:1477–1482

  6. Dubey JP, Speer CA, Fayer R (1989) Sarcocystosis of animals and man. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL

  7. Dubey JP, Cawthorn RJ, Speer CA, Wobeser GA (2003) Redescription of the sarcocysts of Sarcocystis rileyi (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae). J Eukaryot Microbiol 50:476–482

  8. Fedynich AM, Pence DB (1992) Sarcocystis in mallards on the Southern High Plains of Texas. Avian Dis 36:1067–1069

  9. Hoppe DM (1976) Prevalence of macroscopically detectable Sarcocystis in North Dakota ducks. J Wildl Dis 12:27–29

  10. Kaiser IA, Markus MB (1983) Species of Sarcocystis in wild South African birds. Proceedings of the Electron Microscopy Society of South Africa 13:103–104

  11. Kalisińska E, Betlejewska KM, Schmidt M, Goździcka-Jόzefiak A, Tomczyk G (2003) Protozoal macrocysts in the skeletal muscles of a mallard duck in Poland: the first recorded case. Acta Parasitol 48:1–5

  12. Kalyakin VN, Zasukhin DN (1975) Distribution of Sarcocystis (Protozoa: Sporozoa) in vertebrates. Folia Parasitol 22:289–307

  13. Kutkienė L, Sruoga A (2004) Sarcocystis spp. in birds of the order Anseriformes. Parasitol Res 92:171–172

  14. Kutkienė L, Sruoga A, Butkauskas D (2006) Sarcocystis sp. from white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons): cyst morphology and life cycle studies. Parasitol Res 99:562–565

  15. Mehlhorn H, Heydorn AO (1978) The sarcosporidia (Protozoa, Sporozoa): life cycle and fine structure. Adv Parasitol 16:43–91

  16. Mugridge NB, Morrison DA, Johnson AM, Luton K, Dubey JP, Votýpka J, Tenter AM (1999) Phylogenetic relationships of the genus Frenkelia: a review of its history and new knowledge gained from comparison of large subunit ribosomal ribonucleic acid gene sequences. Int J Parasitol 29:957–972

  17. Odening K (1998) The present state of species-systematics in Sarcocystis Lankester, 1882 (Protista, Sporozoa, Coccidia). Syst Parasitol 41:209–233

  18. Spalding MG, Atkinson CT, Carleton RE (1994) Sarcocystis sp. in wading birds (Ciconiiformes) from Florida. J Wildl Dis 30:29–35

  19. Wicht RJ (1981) Transmission of Sarcocystis rileyi to the striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis). J Wildl Dis 17:387–388

  20. Wobeser G, Leighton FA, Cawthorn RJ (1981) Occurrence of Sarcocystis Lankester, 1882, in wild geese in Saskatchewan. Can J Zool 59:1621–1624

Download references


We would like to express our deep thanks to Professor Richard W. Ashford from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine for the valuable comments on an early draft of the paper and for correcting the English. The authors are grateful to Mrs. I. Žalakevičienė from the Institute of Experimental and Clinical Medicine for the help in carrying out investigations of electron microscopy.

Author information

Correspondence to Dalius Butkauskas.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kutkienė, L., Sruoga, A. & Butkauskas, D. Sarcocystis sp. from the goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) and the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos): cyst morphology and ribosomal DNA analysis. Parasitol Res 102, 691–696 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-007-0813-3

Download citation


  • Cyst Wall
  • Cyst Type
  • Sarcocystis Species
  • Southern High Plain
  • Wild Duck