Abstract

During a survey of blood parasites in a population of Leach's and black storm petrels (Oceanodroma leucorhoa and Oceanodroma melania) in Mexico, infection by a Hepatozoon species in erythrocytes of several birds was noted. Here we describe the species as Hepatozoon peircei sp. nov. Some species of Hepatozoon described from birds have been identified as lankesterellids when DNA molecular analyses were conducted. However, a sequence of 1,774 bp of the parasite found infecting storm petrels in this study clearly show the parasite is a species of the genus Hepatozoon. This is the first Hepatozoon species infecting birds to be characterized at the molecular level and the first found infecting erythrocytes and not leucocytes.

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