April 26, 2010
April 26 - Haemoproteus cyanomitrae
Yesterday was World Malaria Day and since whales do not get malaria, I held off on this parasite until today. This is a very recently described species of blood parasite from the African Olive Sunbird, named Haemoproteus cyanomitrae. Parasites in this genus are frequently called "malaria parasites" because they also belong to the order Haemosporida along with Plasmodium, which includes the causative agents of the disease malaria in humans. Unlike Plasmodium, though, these parasites do not asexually divide in their host's red blood cells - instead they use other tissues. There has been recent discussion about the possibility of splitting Haemoproteus into two genera because molecular data show that they fall into distinct clades and it appears that different lineages use different insects as their vectors.