Five species of snakes in Florida, from Palm Beach County in the south and Alachua County 450 km to the north, occur in similar habitat but have distinctive Hepatozoon species characteristic of each host species. In Palm Beach County, Diadophis punctatus is host to Hepatozoon punctatus n. sp., Thamnophis sauritus sackenii to Hepatozoon sauritus n. sp., and Nerodia fasciata pictiventris to Hepatozoon pictiventris n. sp. In Alachua County, N. fasciata pictiventris is parasitized by Hepatozoon fasciatae n. sp., Seminatrix p. pygaea by Hepatozoon seminatrici n. sp., and Thamnophis s. sirtalis by Hepatozoon sirtalis n. sp. Each Hepatozoon sp. has distinctive gamonts and sporogonic characters and, in the 4 species where known, meronts. Nerodia floridana is host to Haemogregarina floridana n. sp. in both localities, with generic identification tentative, based upon presence of erythrocytic meronts. The presence of sporocysts in the proboscis of 31% of Aedes aegypti infected by H. pictiventris is the first report of infective stages of a reptilian Hepatozoon species within the mouthparts of a dipteran vector. This study suggests that in Florida, at least, the diversity of the Hepatozoon community not only equals but probably exceeds the diversity of the snake communities present, and that host specificity in nature may be much greater than that postulated from previous studies.
Haemogregarine Specificity in Two Communities of Florida Snakes, With Descriptions of Six New Species of Hepatozoon (Apicomplexa: Hepatozoidae) and a Possible Species of Haemogregarina (Apicomplexa: Haemogregarinidae)
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Sam R. Telford Jr., Edward J. Wozniak, J. F. Butler; Haemogregarine Specificity in Two Communities of Florida Snakes, With Descriptions of Six New Species of Hepatozoon (Apicomplexa: Hepatozoidae) and a Possible Species of Haemogregarina (Apicomplexa: Haemogregarinidae). J Parasitol 1 August 2001; 87 (4): 890–905. doi: https://doi.org/10.1645/0022-3395(2001)087[0890:HSITCO]2.0.CO;2
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