abstract

Trypanosoma anguiformis n. sp. and Trypanosoma polygranularis n. sp. are described from the African olive sunbird, Cyanomitra olivacea, and Latham's forest francolin, Francolinus lathami, respectively, based on the morphology of their hematozoic trypomastigotes and partial sequences of the small subunit ribosomal RNA gene. Both new species belong to the group of small non-striated avian trypanosomes (<30 µm in length on average) with the kinetoplast situated close to the posterior end of the body. Trypanosoma anguiformis can be readily distinguished from other small avian trypanosomes due to its markedly attenuated (snake-shaped) form of the hematozoic trypomastigotes and the dumbbell-shaped nucleus of the parasite. Trypanosoma polygranularis is readily distinguishable due to the markedly off-center (anteriorly) located nucleus, numerous azurophilic granules that are arranged in a line following the undulating membrane, and the large kinetoplast (with an area up to 1.7 µm2 [1.1 µm2 on average]). Illustrations of hematozoic trypomastigotes of the new species are given, and DNA lineages associated with these parasites are reported. The current situation in species taxonomy of avian trypanosomes is discussed. We call for the redescription of valid species of avian trypanosomes from their type vertebrate hosts and type localities by using morphological and polymerase chain reaction-based techniques as an initial essential step towards revising the species composition of avian trypanosomes and reconstructing the taxonomy of these organisms.

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