Sarcocystis arctica (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae): ultrastructural description and its new host record, the Alaskan wolf (Canis lupus)

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Sarcocystis sarcocysts are common in muscles of herbivores but are rare in muscles of carnivores. Here, we report sarcocysts in the muscles of a gray wolf (Canis lupus) from Alaska, USA, for the first time. Sarcocysts extracted from the tongue of the wolf were up to 900 μm long and slender and appeared to have a relatively thin wall by light microscope. By transmission electron microscopy, the sarcocyst wall most closely resembled “type 9c,” and had a wavy parasitophorous vacuolar membrane folded as pleomorphic villar protrusions (vp), with anastomoses of tips. The vp and the ground substance (gs) layer were smooth without tubules or granules. The gs was up to 2.0 μm thick. The total width of the wall including vp and the gs was 3.5 μm. The vp were up to 1.5 μm long. Mature sarcocysts contained numerous bradyzoites and few metrocytes. The bradyzoites were 9.5 μm long and 1.5 μm wide, and contained all organelles found in Sarcocystis bradyzoites with at least two rhoptries. Molecular characterization showed the highest identity for 18S rRNA, 28S rRNA,ITS-1, and cox1 sequences of Sarcocystis arctica of the Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) from Norway. The ultrastructure of S. arctica from the fox is unknown. Here, we provide ultrastructure of S. arcticafrom the Alaskan wolf for the first time. The definitive host of S. arctica remains unknown.<<<Read More>>>