Main content area

Description of Sarcocystis campestris sp. n. (Protozoa: Sarcocystidae): A parasite of the badger Taxidea taxus with experimental transmission to the Richardson's ground squirrel, Spermophilus richardsonii

Cawthorn, R.J., Wobeser, G.A., Gajadhar, A.A.
Canadian journal of zoology 1983 v.61 no.2 pp. 370-377
life cycle (organisms), animal development, Protozoa, Saskatchewan, Montana
Sarcocystis campestris sp. n. (Protozoa: Sarcocystidae) is an heteroxenous coccidium with badgers (Taxidea taxus) as natural and experimental definitive hosts and Richardson's ground squirrels (Spermophilus richardsonii) as experimental intermediate hosts. Free sporocysts (10.2 × 8.0 μm with a large, round sporocyst residuum consisting of a single refractile granule), obtained from intestinal scrapings of badgers (carcasses frozen 2 years at −20 °C), were orally administered to juvenile Richardson's ground squirrels. Acute fatal sarcocystosis developed in some squirrels at 11–13 days postinoculation (p.i.). Meronts (second generation) were present 9–12 days p.i. in the vascular endothelium of many tissues (especially the lungs). Cysts developed in skeletal muscle, contained metrocytes (7 × 5 μm) 30 days p.i., and beginning 46 days p.i., bradyzoites (12.0 × 3.5 μm) were present. Cysts were macroscopic as early as 258 days p.i. Squirrel carcasses containing cysts (76 days p.i.) of S. campestris sp. n. were fed to Sarcocystis-free badgers. The prepatent period was 9 days and the patent period at least 13 days. Both badgers were ill early in the patent period and passed unformed feces during the patent period. Free sporocysts were 10.2 × 8.0 μm and each had an elongate sporocyst residuum containing numerous small refractile granules.