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Monophyly of the species of Hepatozoon (Adeleorina: Hepatozoidae) parasitizing (African) anurans, with the description of three new species from hyperoliid frogs in South Africa

  • Edward C. Netherlands (a1) (a2) (a3), Courtney A. Cook (a1) (a4), Louis H. Du Preez (a2) (a5), Maarten P.M. Vanhove (a6) (a7) (a8) (a9), Luc Brendonck (a1) (a3) and Nico J. Smit (a1)...

Haemogregarines (Apicomplexa: Adeleiorina) are a diverse group of haemoparasites reported from almost all vertebrate classes. The most commonly recorded haemogregarines to parasitize anurans are species of Hepatozoon Miller, 1908. To date 16 Hepatozoon species have been described from anurans in Africa, with only a single species, Hepatozoon hyperolli (Hoare, 1932), infecting a member of the Hyperoliidae. Furthermore, only two Hepatozoon species are known from South African anurans, namely Hepatozoon theileri (Laveran, 1905) and Hepatozoon ixoxo Netherlands, Cook and Smit, 2014, from Amietia delalandii (syn. Amietia quecketti) and three Sclerophrys species, respectively. Blood samples were collected from a total of 225 individuals representing nine hyperoliid species from several localities throughout northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Twenty frogs from three species were found positive for haemogregarines, namely Afrixalus fornasinii (6/14), Hyperolius argus (2/39), and Hyperolius marmoratus (12/74). Based on morphological characteristics, morphometrics and molecular findings three new haemogregarine species, Hepatozoon involucrum Netherlands, Cook and Smit n. sp., Hepatozoon tenuis Netherlands, Cook and Smit n. sp. and Hepatozoon thori Netherlands, Cook and Smit n. sp., are described from hyperoliid hosts. Furthermore, molecular analyses show anuran Hepatozoon species to be a separate monophyletic group, with species isolated from African hosts forming a monophyletic clade within this cluster.

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      Monophyly of the species of Hepatozoon (Adeleorina: Hepatozoidae) parasitizing (African) anurans, with the description of three new species from hyperoliid frogs in South Africa
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      Monophyly of the species of Hepatozoon (Adeleorina: Hepatozoidae) parasitizing (African) anurans, with the description of three new species from hyperoliid frogs in South Africa
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      Monophyly of the species of Hepatozoon (Adeleorina: Hepatozoidae) parasitizing (African) anurans, with the description of three new species from hyperoliid frogs in South Africa
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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Author for correspondence: Edward C. Netherlands, E-mail:
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Present address: Zoology Unit, Finnish Museum of Natural History, University of Helsinki, P.O.Box 17, Helsinki FI-00014, Finland.

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