Leucocytozoon atkinsoni n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Leucocytozoidae) from the avian family Timaliidae

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Investigators of haematozoa of the Timaliidae have reported the presence of two species of Leucocytozoon Berestneff, 1904, i.e. L. liothricis Laveran & Marullaz, 1914 and L. timaliae Bennett, Earlé & Pierce, 1993. Blood films collected from 42 wild-caught babblers in Madagascar were stained and examined for the presence of haematozoa using a compound microscope. To date, no species of avian haematozoa have been reported from babblers in Madagascar, although haematozoa have been observed. In the present study, we report a new species of Leucocytozoon, L. atkinsoni n. sp., whose morphometrics fall between those reported for the two previously described species from timaliids. The parasite is capped by the host cell nucleus covering 38% of its perimeter. L. atkinsoni n. sp. was found to have a marked, intensely staining, nucleolus as well as vacuoles in the parasite cytoplasm, in contrast to both L. liothricis and L. timaliae. Remnants of the host cell cytoplasm are commonly observed in cells infected with L. atkinsoni, a characteristic not reported in association with either of the previously described species from these hosts.

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