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Biodiversity of the Coccidia (Apicomplexa: Conoidasida) in vertebrates: what we know, what we do not know, and what needs to be done

Donald W. Duszynski
2021 Folia Parasitologica  
Over the last two decades my colleagues and I have assembled the literature on a good percentage of most of the coccidians (Conoidasida) known, to date, to parasitise: Amphibia, four major lineages of Reptilia (Amphisbaenia, Chelonia, Crocodylia, Serpentes), and seven major orders in the Mammalia (Carnivora, Chiroptera, Lagomorpha, Insectivora, Marsupialia, Primates, Scandentia). These vertebrates, combined, comprise about 15,225 species; only about 899 (5.8%) of them have been surveyed for
more » ... en surveyed for coccidia and 1,946 apicomplexan valid species names or other forms are recorded in the literature. Based on these compilations and other factors, I extrapolated that there yet may be an additional 31,381 new apicomplexans still to be discovered in just these 12 vertebrate groups. Extending the concept to all of the other extant vertebrates on Earth; i.e. lizards (6,300 spp.), rodents plus 12 minor orders of mammals (3,180 spp.), birds (10,000 spp.), and fishes (33,000 spp.) and, conservatively assuming only two unique apicomplexan species per each vertebrate host species, I extrapolate and extend my prediction that we may eventually find 135,000 new apicomplexans that still need discovery and to be described in and from those vertebrates that have not yet been examined for them! Even doubling that number is a significant underestimation in my opinion.
doi:10.14411/fp.2021.001 pmid:33527909 fatcat:lspgwwxur5cbhnvpo6iikzyhdy