Genera (Eimeriidae) of Dubius Validity

Compiled by
Donald W. Duszynski and Lee Couch
Department of Biology, University of New Mexico
Steve J. Upton
Division of Biology, Kansas State University

Supported by NSF-PEET DEB 9521687

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Updated: 04 August 2000
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Most species of coccidia possess a resistant oocyst or sporocyst wall capable of withstanding passage through the intestinal tract. Therefore, it should not be surprising that some of these coccidia can be found passing through the intestinal tract of non-host species. For example, Eimeria spp. of rodents or rabbits are frequently seen in the feces and intestinal contents of predators such as snakes, raptors, felids, or canids. Isosporan oocysts of passeriform birds are commonly found in herbivores, scavengers, and waterfowl that happen to ingest oocysts. Fish coccidia are sometimes seen in fish eating birds and snakes, invertebrate adelids are very common insectivorous hosts, and Pfeifferinella spp. of terrestrial or freshwater gastropods are occasionally found in turtles and waterfowl.

Several studies have also shown that some species of coccidia can develop aberrantly under conditions of abnormal temperature or oxygen concentration. These morphological anomolies include changes in the numbers of sporocysts and sporozoites. Although these changes are not known to be heritable, oocysts sometimes appear morphologically as other genera and the sporozoites within normal and infective.

Although erroneous identifications of species pose a major problem in coccidian systematics, the creation of whole genera based on pseudoparasitism is beginning to overwhelm the family Eimeriidae. Perhaps 25% of the genera may be pseudoparasites, and over 1/2 of the species in some of the valid genera may be erroneous. Thus, the creation of new genera must be accompanied by enough information on the life cycle so as to conclusively rule out pseudoparasitism.

Currently, we believe that seven of the genera within the family Eimeriidae are of "dubious" validity. Most appear to represent adelid coccidia ingested either by insectivores, herbivores, or rodents.

  1. Gousseffia Levine, 1980
    1. Synonym:Yakimovella Gousseff, 1937, nomen preocc.
    2. Definition: Oocysts with 8 sporocysts, each sporocyst with many sporozoites.
    3. Host: Erinaceus europaeus (European hedgehog) (Insectivora)
    4. Named species: Gousseffia erinacei (Gousseff, 1937) Levine, 1980, type species
    5. References: Gousseff 1936, 1937; Levine and Ivens 1979; Pellerdy 1974; Lowenstein 1991
    6. Remarks: Oocysts probably represent an adelid pseudoparasite

  2. Hoarella Arcay de Peraza, 1963
    1. Definition: Oocysts with 16 sporocysts, each sporocyst with 2 sporozoites
    2. Host: Cnemidophorus lemniscatus (Sauria )
    3. Named species: Hoarella garnhami Arcay de Peraza, 1963, type species
    4. References: Arcay de Peraza 1963
    5. Remarks: Meronts and gametes were found in the gut and thought to belong to the parasite. The coccidian most likely represents a parasite of arthropods and the developmental stages those of another coccidian

  3. Octosporella Ray and Ragavachari, 1942
    1. Definition: Oocysts with 8 sporocysts, each sporocyst with 2 sporozoites
    2. Named species: Octosporella mabuiae Ray and Raghavachari, 1942, type species from Mabuia sp. (Sauria), Octosporella hystrix Barker, Beveridge, and Munday, 1985 from Tachyglossus aculeatus (Monotremata), Octosporella notropis Li and Desser, 1985 from Notropis cornutus (Cypriniformes), Octosporella opeongoensis Li and Desser, 1985 from Notemigonus crysoleucas (Cypriniformes), Octosporella sanguinolentae Ovezmukhammedov, 1975 from Agama sanguinolenta (Sauria), Octosporella sasajewunensis Li and Desser, 1985 from Notemigonus crysoleucas (Cypriniformes)
    3. References: Barker et al. 1985; Levine 1985; Li and Desser 1985a, 1985b; Molnar 1996; Ovezmukhammedov 1975; Ray and Raghavachari 1942
    4. Remarks: The species from lizards and the echidna probably represent parasites of arthropods. Any developmental stages noted are probably those of another coccidian. The species from the fish were described from smears and the sporocyst plates misidentified as intact sporocysts. Also see Molnar (1996) for his views on this point.

  4. Polysporella McQuistion, 1990
    1. Definition: Oocysts with 9-15 sporocysts, each sporocyst with 2 sporozoites
    2. Host: Nesomimus parvulus (Passeriformes )
    3. Named species: Polysporella genovesae McQuiston, 1990, type species
    4. References: McQuistion 1990
    5. Remarks: This coccidian most likely represents an adelid pseudoparasite

  5. Pythonella Ray and Das Gupta, 1937
    1. Definition: Oocysts with 16 sporocysts, each sporocyst with 4 sporozoites
    2. Named species: Pythonella bengalensis Ray and Das Gupta, 1937, type species in Python sp. (Serpentes), Pythonella karakalensis Glebezdin, 1971 from Calomyscus bailwardi (Rodentia), Pythonella scelopori Duszynski, 1969 from Sceloporus squamosus (Sauria), Pythonella sp. Kawazoe, Gouvea, Jorge, Caputo, and Perdigao, 1989 from Sclerurus scansor (Passeriformes)
    3. References: Duszynski 1969; Glebesdin 1971a, 1971b, Kawazoe et al. 1989; Ray and das Gupta 1937
    4. Remarks: All species appear to represent adelid pseudoparasites

  6. Sivatoshella Ray and Sarkar, 1968
    1. Definition: Oocysts with 2 sporocysts, each sporocyst with 16 sporozoites
    2. Hosts: Lonchura malabarica, L. punctulata (Passeriforms )
    3. Named species: Sivatoshella lonchurae Ray and Sarkar, 1968, type species
    4. References: Ray and Sarkar 1967, 1968
    5. Remarks: The oocysts appear to be the result of abnormal sporulation of an isosporan

  7. Skrjabinella Matschoulsky, 1949
    1. Definition: Oocysts with 16 sporocysts, each sporocyst with 1 sporozoite
    2. Host: Allactaga saltator (Rodentia )
    3. Named species: Skrjabinella mongolica Matschoulsky, 1949, type species
    4. References: Levine and Ivens 1990; Matschoulsky 1949; Musaev and Veisov 1965
    5. Remarks: This coccidian appears to be an adelid pseudoparasite


Arcay de Peraza, L. 1963. Studies on two new coccidia from the Venezuelan lizard Cnemidophorus lemniscatus lemniscatus: Hoarella garnhami gen. nov., sp. nov. and Eimeria flaviviridis americana subsp. nov. Parasitology 53: 95-107.

Barker, I.K., Beveridge, I., and Munday, B.L. 1985. Coccidia (Eimeria tachyglossi n. sp., E. echidnae n. sp., and Octosporella hystrix n. sp.) in the echidna, tachyglossus aculeatus (Monotremata: Tachyglossidae). Journal of Protozoology 32: 523-525.

Duszynski, D.W. 1969. Pythonella scelopori sp. n. (Protozoa: Eimeriidae) from a Costa Rican lizard. Journal of Parasitology 55: 684-685.

Glebezdin, V.S. 1971a. Coccidia in wild mammals in Turkmenia. Materialy Pervogo Skada Vsesoiuznogo Obshchestva Protozoologov, Baku. pp. 30-32.

Glebezdin, V.S. 1971b. Concerning the fauna of Calomyscus bailwardi Thom. in South Turkmenia. Izvestiya Akademii Nauk Turkmenskoi SSR Seriya Biologicheskikh Nauk 0(4): 74-76.

Gousseff, W.F. 1936. XIII.-A new coccidium from crayfish. Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society 56: 326-327.

Gousseff, W.F. 1937. XII.-Yakimovella erinacei n. gen., n. sp., a coccidium from the hedgehog. Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society 57: 200-202.

Kawazoe, U., Gouvea, H., Jorge, P., Caputo, C.M.E., and Perdigao, J.C. 1989. New coccidian species from the wild Brazilian bird Roufous-Breasted Leafscraper Sclerurus scansor Menetries, 1835 (Passeriformes: Furnariidae). Journal of Protozoology 36 (Abstract 85): 15A

Levine, N.D. 1985. Erhardorina n. g., Ascogregarina polynesiensis n. sp., Eimeria golemanskii n. sp., Isospora tamariscini n. sp., Gregarina kazumii n. nom., new combinations and emendations in the names of apicomplexan protozoa. Journal of Protozoology 32: 359-363.

Levine, N.D. and Ivens, V. 1979. The coccidia (Protozoa, Apicomplexa) of Insectivores. Revista Iberica de Parasitologia 39: 261-297.

Levine, N.D. and Ivens, V. 1990. The coccidian parasites of rodents. CRC Press, Boca Raton. 228 pp.

Li, L. and Desser, S.S. 1985a. The protozoan parasites of fish from two lakes in Algonquin Park, Ontario. Canadian Journal of Zoology 63: 1846-1858.

Li, L. and Desser, S.S. 1985b. Three new species of Octosporella (Protozoa: Coccidia) from cyprinid fish in Algonquin Park, Ontario. Canadian Journal of Zoology 63: 1859-1862.

Lowenstein, M. 1991. Parasitosen des Igels und deren Bekampfung. Wiener Tierarztlichen Mschr. 78(4): 127-135.

Matschoulsky, S.N. 1949. On the study of coccidia of rodents of the Southern district of Buryat-Mongolia USSR. Trudy Buryat-Mongolia Zoovetinstituta Veposk 5: 40-56.

Musaev, M.A. and Veisov, A.M. 1965. Coccidia of rodents of the USSR. Izdatelbstvo Akademii Nauk Azerbaidsanskoi SSR, Baku. 154 pp.

Molnar, K. 1996. Remarks on the morphology, site of infection and validity of some coccidian species from fish. Acta Veterinaria Hungarica 44: 295-307.

Ovezmukhammedov, A. 1975. A new species of coccidia Octosporella sanguinolenti sp. n. from lizards Agama in Turkmenistan. Izvestiya Akademii Nauk Turkmenskoi SSR Seriya Biologicheskikh Nauk 0(4): 87-88.

Pellerdy, L. 1974. Coccidia and Coccidiosis. 2nd edition. Verlag Paul Parey, Berlin and Hamburg, and Akademaii Kiado, Budapest. 959 pp.

McQuistion, T.E. 1990. Polysporella genovesae n. gen., n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae) from the fecal contents of the Galapagos mockingbird, Nesomimus parvulus (Passeriformes: Mimidae). Transactions of the American Microscopical Society 109: 412-416.

Ray, H.N. and das Gupta, M. 1937. On a new coccidium from the intestine of Python sp. Proceedings of the Indian Science Congress, Calcutta 24: 292.

Ray, H.N. and Raghavachari, K. 1942. Observations on a new coccidium, Octosporella mabuiae n. gen., n. sp., from the intestine of Mabuia sp. Proceedings of the 28th Indian Science Congress 28: 170.

Ray, H.N. and Sarkar, A.C. 1967. On some new coccidia from the Indian passerine birds, Zosterops palpebrosa (Temm.), Lonchura malabarica (Linn.), L. punctulata (Linn.) and Passer domesticus (Linn.). Proceedings of the 54th Indian Science Congress 54: 448-449.

Ray, H.N. and Sarkar, A.C. 1968. A new coccidium Sivatoshella lonchurae n. gen., n. sp., from Lonchura malabarica and L. punctulata. Journal of Protozoology 15: 640-643.