Plasmodium (Huffia) hermani sp. n. from wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) in Florida



    1. Florida State Museum College of Veterinary Medicine
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    • Vertebrate Pest Control Centre, FAO, University Campus, P.O. Box 8401, Karachi 32, Pakistan. Requests for reprints should be addressed to Dr. D. J. Forrester, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.


    1. University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611
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    • We wish to thank P. P. Humphrey and C. H. Courtney for technical assistance. We appreciate the advice and assistance of C. M. Herman, P. C. C. Garnham and C. F. Simpson in several aspects of the study.

  • This investigation was supported in part by Research Grants No. 977-G and 1270 from the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission's Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration Program, Florida Pittman-Robertson Project W-41. Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations Journal Series No. 5627.


SYNOPSIS. Plasmodium (Huffia) hermani sp. n. is described from wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo Linnaeus) in Florida. It produces rounded schizonts with 6–14 nuclei arranged peripherally as a rosette and elongate, slender gametocytes with irregular margins. Asexual stages parasitize all cells in the erythrocyte series and, in heavy infections, predominantly occur in erythroblasts and their precursors. Presence and degree of pigmentation vary with maturity of the host cell. Gametocytes occupy erythrocytes only, with pigment dispersed in black granules throughout the cytoplasm. Cells containing schizonts are often rounded and enlarged and those parasitized by gametocytes may be somewhat distorted in shape by lateral hypertrophy. Host cell nuclei may be displaced, but are not distorted, except slightly by pressure from the parasite. Plasmodium hermani differs from P. (Giovannolaia) durae by producing low level (> 6%), nonlethal parasitemias in turkey poults, an absence of phanerozoites in capillary endothelium of the brain and viscera, and inability to infect chicks. Plasmodium hermani is more like P. (Huffia) elongatum in gametocyte morphology, schizogony in all types of erythrocyte precursors, with gametocytes occurring in erythrocytes only, and concentration of schizonts in heavy infections in bone marrow and spleen. It differs from P. elongatum by its lack of infectivity to passeriform and anseriform hosts and by a strong immune response which develops in infected birds.