Sarcocystis mehlhorni, n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae) from the black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus)
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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 mehlhorni, is proposed for the Sarcocystis species in black-tailed deer.
KeywordsBlack-tailed deer Odocoileus hemionus columbianus Sarcocystis Ultrastructure Phylogeny
The authors thank Mr. Efrain Pérez and Joseph Madary, Joint Pathology Center, Veterinary Services, US Army, Silver Spring, MD, USA, for the excellent technical help with electron microscopy.
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