Haemoproteus Meleagridis

Hosts: Domestic and wild turkey.

Location: The gametocytes are in the erythrocytes.

Geographic Distribution: North America.

Prevalence: Uncommon. Haemoproteus sp. was reported from 1 out of 4 domestic turkeys in the District of Columbia and vicinity by Wetmore (1941), from a turkey poult from Texas by Morehouse (1945), from 5 of 97 eastern wild turkeys (of which 4 had been reared in captivity) in Pennsylvania by Kozicky (1948), from a flock of turkeys in North Dakota by Goldsby (1951), from 3 out of 10 turkeys in South Carolina by Atchley (1951), from 1 out of 2 wild turkeys in Georgia by Love, Wilkin and Goodwin (1953) and from 42% of 52 birds in a flock of domestic turkeys in South Carolina by Bierer, Vickers and Thomas (1959).

Morphology: Only Morehouse (1945) described the macrogametes and microgametocytes. They are elongate, sausage-shaped, curve around the host cell nucleus and occupy about 1/2 to 3/4 of the host cell. Their surface is usually in close contact both with the host cell nucleus and host cell wall. The macrogametes measure 14 to 19 by 2 to 4 u. with a mean of 17 by 3 u. They contain 18 to 48 (mean, 27) round or irregular pigment granules. Their nuclei measure 2 to 6 by 2 to 3 u with a mean of 4 by 2 u and are ovoid or irregular in shape. The microgametocytes stain less intensely than the macrogametes. They measure 13 to 18 by 3 to 4 u with a mean of 16 by 3 u. They contain 11 to 24 (mean, 18) pigment granules. Their nuclei measure 5 to 10 by 2 to 4 u with a mean of 8 by 3 u. The host cells are not enlarged. Morehouse also observed occasional extracellular macrogametes.

Life Cycle: Unknown.

Pathogenesis: Unknown.

Remarks: Altho Haemoproteus is relatively rare in turkeys, it has been seen enough times and has been described well enough to warrant having a name of its own. I am therefore naming it H. meleagridis n. sp.