Parasitology, Harold W. Manter Laboratory of


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Published in the International Journal for Parasitology,29 (1999): 275-284. Copyright 1999, Australian Society for Parasitology. Used by permission.


Faecal samples collected from 300 Bolivian marsupials (Didelphimorphia: Didelphidae) between 1984 and 1993 were examined for coccidian parasites. Sporulated oocysts were present in the faeces of 50 (17%) marsupials representing 11 genera and 22 species. Three new species of Eimeria are described and named from six host species. One species occurred in Marmosops dorothea, Monodelphis domestica and Thylamys venustus, another in Micoureus constantiae constantiae and Micoureus constantiae budini and a third in Marmosops dorothea. A discriminant analysis performed on five quantitative oocyst measurements revealed similarities between the first and third Eimeria species because of similar sizes and shapes of the oocysts, whereas the second Eimeria species was structurally discrete. The Eimeria that infects multiple hosts may be a common widespread species. Future surveys are advised for a thorough assessment of the coccidian biodiversity within Bolivian marsupials.

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