Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 25, 2015

Morphologic and molecular characteristics of Sarcocystis atraii n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae) infecting the common coot (Fulica atra) from Egypt

Ahmed El-Morsey, Mahmoud El-Seify, Abdel-Razik Y. Desouky, Mohamed M. Abdel-Aziz, Khaled Mohamed El-Dakhly, Samy Kasem, Walied Abdo, Mohie Haridy, Hiroki Sakai and Tokuma Yanai
From the journal Acta Parasitologica


A single morphologic type of Sarcocystis cysts found in two out of 43 examined common coots, Fulica atra, is considered to represent a new species for which the name Sarcocystis atraii n. sp. is proposed and its description is provided. Coots were hunted from the vicinity of Brolos Lake located at KafrElsheikh province, Egypt. The structural morphology of the revealed sarcocysts was described using light and transmission electron microscopy. Sarcocysts were found in the leg and thigh muscles. The cysts were microscopic and measured 165−850 μm in length × 50−85 μm in width. Histologically; the sarcocyst wall was wavy and had minute undulations. Ultrastructurally, it measured 1−3 μm in thickness and possessed many mushroom-like villar protrusions sometimes originating from other mushroom-like villar protrusions that measured approximately 0.5−2 μm in length and up to 2 μm in width, with the presence of electron dense ground substance of 300 nm to 1 μm thick. The bradyzoites were elongated, banana-shaped and measured 7.5−14 × 1.5−2.5 μm, with centrally or terminally located nuclei. The ultrastructural features of the cyst wall belonged to type 24. On the basis of sequencing and phylogenic analyses for 18S rRNA , 28S rRNA genes and ITS-1 region; S. atraii n. sp. is considered a genetically distinct species, being most closely related to avian Sarcocystis spp. whose definitive hosts are predatory mammals.


Abdel Ghaffar F., Hilali M., Scholtyseck E. 1978. Ultrastructural studies of Sarcocystis fusiformis (Railliet 1897) infecting the Indian water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) of Egypt. Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, 29, 283-294Search in Google Scholar

Bartoszewicz M., Zalewski A.2003. American mink, Mustela vison diet and predation on waterfowl in the Slonsk Reserve, western Poland. Folia Zoologica, 52, 225-238Search in Google Scholar

Basuony M., Saleh M., Riad A., Fathy W. 2005. Food composition and feeding ecology of the Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) (Linnaeus, 1758) in Egypt. Egyptian Journal of Biology, 7, 96-102Search in Google Scholar

Cornaglia E., Giaccherino A.R., Peracino V. 1998. Ultrastructural morphology of sarcosporidiosis in alpine ibex (Capra ibex). Veterinary Parasitology, 75, 21−3210.1016/S0304-4017(97)00185-4Search in Google Scholar

Cornaglia E., Guarda F., Guarda F., Misciatelli M.E. 1980. Research, frequency, diagnosis, morphology, histopathology and ultrastructure of cardiac sarcosporidiosis in chamois and steinbock. Annali della Facolta di Medicina Veterinaria di Torino, 27, 279-296Search in Google Scholar

Dahlgren S.S., Gouveia-Oliveira R., Gjerde B. 2008.Phylogenetic relationships between Sarcocystis species from reindeer and other Sarcocystidae deduced from ssu rRNA gene sequences. Veterinary Parasitology, 151, 27-35 10.1016/j.vetpar.2007.09.029Search in Google Scholar

del Hoyo J., Elliott A., Sargatal J. 1996. Handbook of the Birds of the World. III. Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain, pp. 821Search in Google Scholar

Dolezel D., Koudela B., Jirku M., Hypsa V., Obornik M., Votypka J., Modry D., Slapeta J.R., Lukes J. 1999. Phylogenetic analysis of Sarcocystis spp. of mammals and reptiles supports the coevolution of Sarcocystis spp. with their final hosts. International Journal for Parasitology, 29, 795-79810.1016/S0020-7519(99)00018-1Search in Google Scholar

Dubey J. P., Hilali M., Van Wilpe E., Verma S. K., Calero-Bernal R., Abdel-Wahab. A. 2015. Redescription of Sarcocystis fusiformis sarcocysts from the water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis). Parasitology, 142, 385-394. DOI:10.1017/S003118201400122X 10.1017/S003118201400122XSearch in Google Scholar

Dubey J.P., Odening K. 2001. Toxoplasmosis and related infections. In Parasitic diseases of wild mammals. W.M., Pybus M.J. Samuel, A.A. Kocan, (eds.) Ames, Iowa, Iowa State University Press, pp. 478-519Search in Google Scholar

Dubey J.P., Speer C.A., Fayer R. 1989. Sarcocystosis of animals and man. CRC Press, Boca Raton, p. 215Search in Google Scholar

Edgar R.C. 2004. MUSCLE: multiple sequence alignment with high accuracy and high throughput. Nucleic Acids Research, 32, 1792−1797. DOI:10.1093/nar/gkh34010.1093/nar/gkh340Search in Google Scholar

El-Morsey A., El-Seify M., Desouky A.Y., Abdel-Aziz M.M., Sakai H., Yanai T. 2014. Morphologic identification of a new Sarcocystis sp. in the common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) (Aves: Gruiformes: Rallidae) from Brolos Lake, Egypt. Parasitology Research, 113, 391-397. DOI:10.1007/s00436-013-3667-x El-Morsey A., EL-Seify M., Desouky A.Y., Abdel-Aziz M.M., Sakai H., Yanai T. 2015. Sarcocystis chloropusae (protozoa: Sarcocystidae) n. sp. from the common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) from Egypt. Parasitology, 142, 1063-1065. DOI: 10.1017/ S0031182015000293Search in Google Scholar

Felsenstein J. 1985. Confidence limits on phylogenies: An approach using the bootstrap. Evolution, 39, 783-791. DOI: in Google Scholar

Ferreras P., Macdonald D.W. 1999. The impact of American mink (Mustela vison) on water birds in the upper Thames. Journal of Applied Ecology, 36, 701-70810.1046/j.1365-2664.1999.00431.xSearch in Google Scholar

Foreyt W.J. 1989. Sarcocystis sp. in Mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus) in Washington: prevalence and search for the definitive Host. Journal of Wild life Diseases, 4, 619−622. DOI: in Google Scholar

Hilali M., El-Seify M., Zayed A., El-Morsey A., Dubey J.P. 2011. Sarcocystis dubeyi (Huong and Uggla 1999) infection in water buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis) from Egypt. Journal of Parasitology, 97, 527-528. DOI: 10.1645/GE-2656.110.1645/GE-2656.1Search in Google Scholar

Holmdahl O.J., Morrision D.A., Ellis J.T., Huong L.T. 1999. Evolution of ruminant Sarcocystis (Sporozoa) parasites based on small subunit rDNA sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 11, 27-3710.1006/mpev.1998.0556Search in Google Scholar

Kimura M. 1980. A simple method for estimating evolutionary rate of base substitutions through comparative studies of nucleotide sequences. Journal of Molecular Evolution, 16 , 111-12010.1007/BF01731581Search in Google Scholar

Kutkienė L., Prakas P., Butkauskas D., Sruoga A. 2012b. Description of Sarcocystis turdusi sp. nov. from the common blackbird (Turdus merula). Parasitology, 139, 1438-1443. DOI: 10.1017/S003118201200081910.1017/S0031182012000819Search in Google Scholar

Kutkienė L., Prakas P., Sruoga A., Butkauskas D. 2009. Sarcocystis in the birds family Corvidae with description of Sarcocystis cornixi sp. nov. from the hooded crow (Corvus cornix). Parasitology Research, 104, 329-336. DOI: 10.1007/s00436-008-1196-910.1007/s00436-008-1196-9Search in Google Scholar

Kutkienė L., Prakas P., Sruoga A., Butkauskas D. 2010. The mallard duck (Anas Platyrhynchos) as intermediate host for Sarcocystis wobeseri sp. nov. from the barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis). Parasitology Research, 107, 879-888. DOI: 10.1007/s00436-010-1945-410.1007/s00436-010-1945-4Search in Google Scholar

Kutkienė L., Prakas P., Sruoga A., Butkauskas D. 2011. Identification of Sarcocystis rileyi from the mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos) in Europe: cyst morphology and results of DNA analysis. Parasitology Research, 108, 709-714. DOI: 10.1007/ s00436-010-2117-210.1007/s00436-010-2117-2Search in Google Scholar

Kutkienė L., Prakas P., Sruoga A., Butkauskas D. 2012a. Description of Sarcocystis anasi sp. nov. and Sarcocystis albifronsi sp. nov. in birds of the order Anseriformes. Parasitology Research, 110, 1043-1046. DOI: 10.1007/s00436-011-2588-910.1007/s00436-011-2588-9Search in Google Scholar

Logminas V. 1990. (comp.) Fauna of Lithuania. Aves 1. Mokslas, Vilnius, p.366Search in Google Scholar

Mugridge N.B., Morrison D.A., Johnson A.M., Luton K., Dubey J.P., Votypka J., Tenter A.M. 1999. Phylogenetic relationships of the genus Frenkelia: a review of its history and new knowledge gained from comparison of large subunit ribosomal ribonucleic acid gene sequences. International Journal for Parasitology, 29, 957-97210.1016/S0020-7519(99)00062-4Search in Google Scholar

Novak M.D., Fedoseenko V.M., Orazalinova V.A. 1987. The ultrastructure of the cyst of Sarcocystis sp. from cattle. Izvestiya Akademii Nauk Respubliki Kazakhskoi SSR Seriya. Biologicheskikh Nauk, 2, 46- 49Search in Google Scholar

Odening K., Stolte M., Bockhardt I. 1996. On the diagnostic of Sarcocystis in chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra). Applied Parasitology, 37, 153-160Search in Google Scholar

Olias P., Olias L., Lierz M., Mehlhorn H., Gruber A.D. 2010. Sarcocystis calchasi is distinct to Sarcocystis columbae sp. nov. from the wood pigeon (Columba palumbus) and Sarcocystis sp. from the sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus). Veterinary Parasitology, 171, 7-14. DOI: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2010.03.02110.1016/j.vetpar.2010.03.021Search in Google Scholar

Posada D .2008. jModelTest: Phylogenetic Model Averaging. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 25, 1253-125610.1093/molbev/msn083Search in Google Scholar

Prakas P., Butkauskas D. 2012. Protozoan parasites from genus Sarcocystis and their investigations in Lithuania. Ekologija, 58, 45 -5810.6001/ekologija.v58i1.2349Search in Google Scholar

Prakas P., Kutkienė L., Butkauskas D., Sruoga A., Žalakevičius M. 2014. Description of Sarcocystis lari sp. n. (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae) from the great black-backed gull, Larus marinus (Charadriiformes: Laridae), on the basis of cyst morphology and molecular data. Folia Parasitologica, 61, 11-17. DOI: 10.14411/fp.2014.00210.14411/fp.2014.002Search in Google Scholar

Prakas P., Kutkienė L., Butkauskas D., Sruoga A., Žalakevicius. M. 2013. Molecular and morphological investigations of Sarcocystis corvusi sp. nov. from the jackdaw (Corvus monedula). Parasitology Research, 112, 1163-1167. DOI: 10.1007/ s00436-012-3247-510.1007/s00436-012-3247-5Search in Google Scholar

Prakas P., Kutkienė L., Sruoga A., Butkauskas D. 2011. Sarcocystis sp. from the herring gull (Larus argentatus) identity to S. wobeseri based on cyst morphology and DNA results. Parasitology Research, 109, 1603−1608. DOI: 10.1007/s00436-011-2421-510.1007/s00436-011-2421-5Search in Google Scholar

Spalding M.G., Atkinson C.T., Carleton R.E. 1994. Sarcocystis sp. in wading birds (Ciconiiformes) from Florida. Journal of Wild Life Diseases, 30, 29-35. DOI: in Google Scholar

Tamura K., Nei M., Kumar S. 2004. Prospects for inferring very large phylogenies by using the neighbor-joining method. Proceeding of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America, 101, 11030-11035. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.040420610110.1073/pnas.0404206101Search in Google Scholar

Tamura K., Stecher G., Peterson D., Filipski A., Kumar S. 2013. MEGA6: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis version 6.0. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 30, 2725-2729. DOI: 10.1093/molbev/mst19710.1093/molbev/mst197Search in Google Scholar

Taylor B., Van Perlo B.1998. Rails: a guide to the rails, crakes, gallinules and coots of the world. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, UK, p. 600Search in Google Scholar

Yang Z.Q., Zuo Y.X., Yao Y.G., Chen X.W., Yang G.C., Zhang Y.P. 2001. Analysis of the 18S rRNA genes of Sarcocystis species suggests that the morphologically similar organisms from cattle and water buffalo should be considered the same species. Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology, 115, 283-28810.1016/S0166-6851(01)00283-3Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2015-3-9
Revised: 2015-4-14
Accepted: 2015-5-22
Published Online: 2015-9-25
Published in Print: 2015-12-1

W. Stefański Institute of Parasitology, PAS