chapter  5
8 Pages


Frank (1974) convinced him that vacuoles and perhaps other artifacts were mistaken as parasites. Brygoo (1963a), however, illustrated typical Sauroplasma in the blood of Zonosaurus madagascariensis and Chamaeleo verrucosus, demonstrating the presence of the parasite on Madagascar. Any lingering doubt over the nature of Sauroplasma as a parasitic organism should have been resolved by the publication of four electron micrographs of a Sauroplasma species in erythrocytes of juvenile Cuban iguanas, Cyclura nubila (Alberts et al., 1998). Although further and more detailed study of this material has not been done, the parasites shown have some similarity to piroplasms, and their place as a piroplasmorid appears justified. Svahn (1976) described Sauroplasma boreale from Swedish and Danish lizards, and placed it in the Theileridae because she observed no reproduction of S. boreale in erythrocytes and considered the reproductive stages described by Du Toit (1937) and Pienaar (1962) as double infections of the host cells. The issue is not settled. It appears that Sauroplasma is a piroplasm but with little affinity to the mammalian piroplasms Babesia and Theileria. Parasitemias by Sauroplasma can be very high, up to 43-56% of erythrocytes (Du Toit, 1937), usually with one, rarely two parasites in a host cell. Pienaar (1962) found only 5-10% parasitemias in infected Cordylus vittifer. There is no evidence that infection by Sauroplasma is pathogenic to the lizard host.