Common avian blood parasites
(all pictures on this page at same magnification)
Gametocytes of Hemoproteus spp. are relatively small; the erythroid origin of the host cell remains apparent. The organisms have a textured appearance and contain scattered pigment granules; they may nearly encircle the RBC's nucleus.
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Gametocytes of Leukocytozoon spp. are much larger; the nature of the host cell is obscured. Both elongated (sail-like) and compact spherical forms (inset) may be seen in the same smear.
Among the samples received in this laboratory, these two parasites are seen most commonly in blood from raptors, in which symptomless infection seems the rule.
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Last Updated: Tuesday, February 27, 1996