DNA was extracted and the 18S ribosomal RNA gene was amplified and sequenced from the blood of 2 Pallas' cats (Otocolobus manul) infected with small intraerythrocytic piroplasms. Sequences of the parasite were found to be identical with that of a previously reported Cytauxzoon-like piroplasm from a Pallas' cat. Phylogenetic analyses of the parasite DNA sequences obtained from the 3 Pallas' cats to other piroplasms revealed a sister group relationship to C. felis. The mean corrected percent sequence divergence between the Pallas' cat parasite and C. felis was 1.490%, which is greater than that for most other piroplasms in which species status has been accepted. On the basis of the sequence variation, we propose to name the Pallas' cat parasite C. manul. Phylogenetic analyses of C. manul also revealed a close relationship with the Spanish Cytauxzoon-like isolate because they exhibited only 0.389% sequence divergence, yet these sequences exhibit a mean of 1.690% sequence divergence from the New World isolate of C. felis. Our phylogenetic analyses also revealed several taxonomic problems that have impeded the development of a classification that accurately reflects evolutionary history of piroplasms. As currently arranged, Babesia and Theileria are paraphyletic taxa and are in need of reorganization.

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