"So, naturalists observe, a flea has smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller still to bite ’em; and so proceed ad infinitum."
- Jonathan Swift

July 8, 2010

July 8 - Nephroisospora eptesici

Not only are we still discovering new species of parasites, sometimes we're finding whole new genera. Today's parasite is one such example. Nephroisospora eptesici is a new species of coccidian parasite that was recently found in the kidneys of big brown bats (Eptisecus fuscus) in Minnesota. Bats that had been submitted for rabies testing were found to have macroscopic lesions on their kidneys (shown in photo) and subsequent analyses using histology of the lesions as well as DNA sequencing confirmed that they were coccidia. However, these parasites are very unusual in that they appear to undergo their entire life cycle in just one host - all of their relatives use two hosts. The discovery of sporocysts within the kidneys also was perplexing to the authors as other relatives (Isospora, Eimeria, Toxoplama) need oxygen to produce these stages.

The original species description, where the photo is from can be found here.

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