PARÁSITOS SANGUÍNEOS DE MALARIA Y GÉNEROS RELACIONADOS (ORDEN: HAEMOSPORIDA) EN AVES DE MÉXICO: RECOMENDACIONES METODOLÓGICAS PARA CAMPO Y LABORATORIO
Keywords:Avian malaria, blood smear preparation, Haemosporida, Mexico
Malaria parasites and related genera (order: Haemosporida) in birds from Mexico: methodological recommendations for the field and laboratory. – Parasites from the order Haemosporida (phylum: Apicomplexa) are transmitted by blood-sucking insects (order Diptera) and infect a wide array of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Four genera of these parasites have been reported in birds: Plasmodium, Haemoproteus, Fallisia, and Leucocytozoon. Most studies on this group of parasites have been conducted in North America and Europe. In the Neotropical region studies are still scarce but have recently increased. In Mexico, our literature survey reveals the existence of 17 published studies. However, in many of these studies we detected shortcomings in the correct preparation of blood smears, such as lack of fixing in methanol and inadequate staining, which makes parasite identification difficult and renders blood smears useless as material for museum collections. Furthermore, we find similar mistakes in more recent unpublished studies (conference presentations, theses). Here we make methodological recommendations for the correct preparation and processing of blood smears both in the field and the laboratory. Our aim is to provide practical help to ornithologists and parasitologists interested in working with this group of parasites, in order to obtain high quality material that can subsequently be deposited at museum collections.
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