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Description of a new species of Eimeria (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae) from Palmatogecko rangei (Sauria: Gekkonidae) in Namibia.

ABSTRACT. -- A new species of coccidian was recovered from feces of Palmatogecko rangei (Gekkonidae) from Namibia, southwestern Africa. Oocysts of the new Eimeria are ellipsoidal, 26.9 X 18.8 (25.0-29.0 X 18.0-19.5) [micro]m; shape index (length/width) 1.43 (1.32-1.57). Micropyle and oocyst residuum absent, one to five polar granules present. Sporocysts subspherical to ellipsoidal, 9.7 X 8.3 (9.0-10.5 X 8.0-9.0) [micro]m; shape index 1.16 (1.07-1.30). Sporozoites each with anterior and posterior refractile bodies. Key words: Palmatogecko rangei; Gekkonidae; coccidia; Eimeria; Namibia.


Two female web-footed geckos, Palmatogecko rangei, were collected during an expedition to Namibia, southwestern Africa, in April 1990. Both animals were shipped into the United States and housed in a private collection in Houston, Texas. Feces from both geckos were examined initially for coccidia, but no oocysts were found. After approximately one year, both animals were placed on loan to the Houston Zoological Gardens. While in temporary quarantine in May and June 1991, feces from both animals were re-examined for parasites. One of the geckos was then found to be passing large numbers of coccidian oocysts, which proved to represent a previously undescribed species of Eimeria (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae). Below is a description of this new eimerian.


Feces were collected and placed in 2.5 percent (w/v) aqueous potassium dichromate solution ([K.sub.2][Cr.sub.2][O.sub.7]) and stored up to one week prior to examination. Oocysts were shipped to Kansas State University and concentrated by flotation in an aqueous sucrose solution (specific gravity 1.30), and examined and photographed with Nomarski interference-contrast optics. Measurements were made using a calibrated ocular micrometer and are reported as means, followed by ranges in parentheses.

Eimeria rangei, new species (Figs. 1-4)

(Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae)

Oocysts ellipsoidal, 26.9 X 18.8 (25.0-29.0 X 18.0-19.5), often with one side flattened slightly; shape index (length/width) 1.43 (1.32-1.57). Wall bilayered, 1-1.5 thick and smooth; outer layer about 1.0; inner layer about 0.5. Micropyle and oocyst residuum absent; one to five polar granules present. Sporocysts subspherical to ellipsoidal, 9.7 X 8.3 (9.0-10.5 X 8.0-9.0), with smooth, thin wall ca 0.5 thick; shape index 1.16 (1.07-1.30). Sporocysts comprised of two unequal, longitudinal valves joined by sutures. Sporocyst residuum present, 4.6 X 3.9 (3.0-5.5 X 3.0-5.0), composed of granules 0.5-1.5 in diameter. Sporozoites elongate, 13.0 X 2.6 (11.0-15.0 X 2.5-3.0), arranged head-to-tail within sporocyst. Each sporozoite has spherical to subspherical anterior refractile body 2.3 X 2.2 (1.5-3.0 X 1.5-2.5) and spherical to ellipsodial posterior refractile body 3.2 X 2.4 (2.5-4.0 X 2.0-3.0). Nucleus located between refractile bodies.


Type host. -- Palmatogecko rangei Andersson, 1908, "web-footed gecko" (Sauria: Gekkonidae).

Type locality. -- The infected gecko was collected 10 km. E Luderitz, Luderitz District, Namibia. It is probable that the animal harbored a prepatent or low level patent infection upon collection.


Site of infection. -- Unknown. Oocysts recovered from feces. Oocyst shape suggests that this species may infect the gall bladder epithelium.

Sporulation. -- Unknown, but most likely endogenous. Oocysts arrived at Kansas State University fully sporulated.

Etymology. -- The specific epithet is the same as that of the host.

Remarks. -- No species of coccidia have been described previously from Palmatogecko and none reported from the Gekkondiae has oocysts that match those reported herein. However, there are four gekkonid coccidia that are somewhat similar in size to Eimeria rangei. Oocysts of E. rochalimai Carini and Pinto, 1926, and E. sp. (Paperna and Landsberg, 1989) new combination (syn. Choleoeimeria pachydactyli Paperna and Landsberg, 1989) are more elongate, whereas oocysts of E. telfordi Bovee, 1971, and E. lineri McAllister, Upton, and Freed, 1988, are smaller or less elongate, or both (see Bovee, 1971; Carini and Pinto, 1926; McAllister et al., 1988; Paperna and Landsberg, 1989).


We wish to thank the Department of Nature Conservation in Windhoek, Namibia, for issuance of collecting and export permits. Thanks also to J. Furman and K. Neitman for assistance in field collecting specimens.


Bovee, E. C. 1971. New species of Eimeria from lizards of Japan. Trans. Amer. Microsc. Soc., 90:336-343.

Carini, A., and C. Pinto. 1926. Estudos sobre coccideas. Arg. Biol., Sao Paulo, 11:83-86.

McAllister, C. T., S. J. Upton, and P. S. Freed. 1988. Eimeria lineri sp. n. (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae) from the Mediterranean gecko, Hemidactylus turcicus (Sauria: Gekkonidae), in Louisiana and Texas. Proc. Helminthol. Soc. Washington, 55:256-259.

Paperna, I., and J. H. Landsberg. 1989. Description and taxonomic discussion of eimerian coccidia from African and Levantine geckoes. S. African J. Zool., 24:345-355.


Division of Biology, Ackert Hall, Kansas State university, Manhattan, Kansas 66506, and Section of Herpetology and Veterinary Hospital (DAB), Houston Zoological Gardens, 1513 North MacGregor, Houston, Texas 77030
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Author:Upton, Steve J.; Freed, Paul S.; Burdick, Deborah A.
Publication:The Texas Journal of Science
Geographic Code:6NAMI
Date:Nov 1, 1991
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