n African Zoology - First from southern Africa: reassigning chelonian Dias, 1953 (Adeleorina: Haemogregarinidae) to (Adeleorina: Karyolysidae)

Volume 50, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X
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To date, only a single species of , (Sergent & Sergent, 1904), has been described from African terrestrial tortoises. Although various haemogregarines have been described from southern African terrapins and tortoises, including species from the genus and one from the genus , no species of have been identified previously from southern Africa. Since its morphological redescription, the taxonomic placement of one of these species, Dias, 1953, was in doubt. Hence, research was undertaken to resolve the true taxonomic position of this haemogregarine. Blood smears from nine wild tortoises of two species, and , from South Africa were screened, with the focus on . Parasite DNA was extracted from ethanol-preserved blood samples, and fragments of the 18S rDNA gene were amplified by PCR using the primer sets HepF300/HepR900 and 4558/2733. Maximum likelihood and maximum parsimony analyses of 18S rDNA sequences showed that formed a monophyletic clade with species of within the Hepatozoon clade, not with species of . It is thus recommended that this haemogregarine be reassigned to the genus , rendering (Dias, 1953) the first species of the genus recorded from southern African tortoises.

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