Abstract

This study reports a broadening of the altitudinal range and a new host for Plasmodium (Haemamoeba) lutzi in Colombia. The study was conducted in the city of Bogotá, located in the Eastern Cordillera of Colombia at 2,560 m asl (meters above sea level) with an average annual temperature of 15 C. In total, 156 specimens of birds belonging to 25 species and 14 families were captured using mist nets. The blood samples were collected through venipuncture and analyzed by light microscopy. Plasmodium (H.) lutzi was only found in 2 individuals of Turdus fuscater (Great Thrush). This parasite has previously been reported in Aramides cajaneus (before: Aramides cajanea) (Grey-Necked Wood Rail), a bird found in the lowlands of Brazil, Venezuela, and Colombia. This finding provides evidence for a broad host range for P. lutzi that include 2 different orders, Gruiformes and Passeriformes, and also altitudinal expansion of its distribution. The blood stages were compared with the parasite's original descriptions, and the sequence of the parasite's mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) confirms that P. lutzi is a sister taxa of Plasmodium relictum, as previously proposed.

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