Nearly complete sequences were obtained from the 18S rDNA genes of Eimeria falciformis (the type species of the genus), Caryospora bigenetica, and Lankesterella minima. Two clones of the rDNA gene from C. bigenetica varied slightly in primary structure. Parsimony-based and maximum likelihood phylogenetic reconstructions with a number of other apicomplexan taxa support 2 major clades within the Eucoccidiorida, i.e., the isosporoid coccidia (consisting of Toxoplasma, Neospora, Isospora [in part], and Sarcocystis spp.) and a second clade containing Lankesterella and Caryospora spp., as well as the eimeriid coccidia (Cyclospora, Isospora [in part], and Eimeria spp.). Our observations suggest that Caryospora spp. may not belong in the family Eimeriidae but rather may be allied with the family Lankesterellidae with which they share molecular and life history similarities. This may be a third lineage of coccidian parasites that has independently evolved a unique heteroxenous transmission strategy.

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