"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 9, 2010

July 9 - Haemogregarina macrochelysi

If you are thinking about swimming in a southern pond make sure you don't let your feet dangle...they might get chomped by an alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) - one of the meanest creatures you can come across. Maybe they are mean because they're often covered with leeches sucking their blood - and sometimes those leeches can transmit blood parasites, such as today's parasite, Haemogregarina macrochelysi, a new species of hemogregarine (another distant relative of malaria, Babesia and Toxoplasma). The authors of the paper reported that every single alligator snapping turtle they sampled from seven different locations had these parasites.

Photo by Sam Telford, Jr., the primary author of the paper.

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