How Many Species of Avian Malaria Parasites Are There?

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  • Department of Zoölogy, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York

Although bird malarial parasites have been known now for half a century and some hundred of papers have been written about them there is still little agreement as to the number of species that exist, or indeed as to the correct nomenclature. For some years there was doubt as to whether the parasites of bird and human malaria were really different, and later there was much confusion as to the specific characters of the various types. Haemoproteus was not clearly distinguished from the true plasmodia, and since the discovery of a number of avian malaria parasites forming elongate gametocytes, often closely resembling Haemoproteus, it is very likely that in many cases these two types of blood protozoa were mistaken one for the other—and that they still are.

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