Institut für Biologie der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg


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Erforschung biologischer Ressourcen der Mongolei (2012) band 12: 125-134.


Copyright 2012, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle Wittenberg, Halle (Saale). Used by permission.


An examination of the feces from 8 pikas collected in 1999 and from 17 pikas collected in 2009 in Mongolia revealed the presence of 3 new eimerian species. Four of the 5 species of pikas present in Mongolia were studied including: Ochotona alpina, O. dauurica, O. pallasi, and O. hyperborea. Oocysts of Eimeria dunnumi n. sp. from O. hyperborea collected in 1999 are ellipsoid, average length and width of 31.4 x 20.8 μm, with a 1.4 μm thick double layered wall, lacking a micropyle, oocyst residuum, and polar granule. Sporocysts of this species are ellipsoid, 12.8 x 8.1 μm in length and width, with a steida body and a compact sporocyst residuum. Oocysts of Eimeria burti n. sp., from O. pallasi collected in 2009 are ovoid, 26.3 x 21.1 μm in average length and width, with a 1.6 μm thick double layered wall with an oocyst residuum. Their sporocysts are ellipsoidal, with a length and width of 11.4 x 7.8 μm with a prominent steida body. Oocysts of Eimeria salazarbravoi n. sp., from O. pallasi collected in 2009 are ovoidal, 26.6 x 20.5 μm in average length and width, with a 1.6 μm thick double layered wall, with a micropyle. Their sporocysts are ellipsoidal, with a length and width of 11.6 x 7.6 μm with a prominent Steida body and a compact sporocyst residuum.

Species of Ochotona, pikas, are found in habitats ranging from semi-desert to taiga and high mountains across the Holarctic. The majority of the 30 currently recognized species occur in Asia, with only 2 species occurring in North America (HOFFMANN & SMITH 2005). Five of the Asian representatives of this genus occur in Mongolia. Ochotona hyperborea (PALLAS, 1811), the northern pika, has a broad distribution across Asia, from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific and south into northern Mongolia and China. In Mongolia they are common in the talus slopes and mountain steppe habitats of the northern part of the country. PALLAS’ pika, Ochotona pallasi (GRAY, 1867), has a disjunct distribution, with populations of this species ranging from Kazakhstan east through the Altai Mountains, across Mongolia into the Tuva region of Russia, and Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia of China. This species is found in the southern region of Mongolia in the southern Khangay Mountains and along the stretch of the Gobi Altai and Mongolian Altai Mountains. The alpine pika, Ochotona alpina (PALLAS, 1773), is found from northwestern Afghanistan across southern Russia, northern Mongolia, and China.

In Mongolia this species ranges across the Mongolian Altai and the Khentey and Khangay Mountains. Ochotona dauurica (PALLAS, 1776), the Daurian pika, has a range extending east from the Altai Mountains of Russia across Tuva and Transbaikalia, and south into Mongolia and China. They occupy suitable habitat through the Mongolian and Gobi Altai Mountains as well as steppe habitats in the northern part of Mongolia. HOFFMANN’s pika, Ochotona hoffmanni (FORMOZOV et al., 1996), has the smallest geographic distribution, occurring only in the northern Khentey Mountains and bordering areas of the Transbaikal region of Russia (TINNIN et al. 2002, HOFFMANN & SMITH 2005, BATSAIKHAN et al. 2010, TINNIN et al. 2011a).

Recent papers have addressed the apicomplexan parasites of pikas from Beringia and northern China (LYNCH et al. 2007, CAO et al. 2009). To date there have been 18 species of Eimeria described from 7 species of Ochotona from scattered localities ranging across the Holarctic from Turkmenistan to Colorado (LYNCH et al. 2007, CAO et al. 2009). There have been, however, no reports of Eimeria from Mongolian pika, although we have contributed previous data from other Mongolian host species (GARDNER et al. 2009, TINNIN et al. 2011b). Herein we continue our efforts to report on Mongolian Apicomplexa represented by the description of 3 new species of Eimeria.