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The species of Parahaemoproteus are avian parasites in birds other than Columbiformes.  They are a great example of cryptic species and convergent evolution.


Life CycleEdit

The vectors are biting midges, and they transmit the sporozoite of the parasite in their salivary glands.  The sporozoites invade the endothelial cells of blood vessels.  They can be invade various tissues, but primarily the lung, liver, and spleen.  There, they undergo schizogony, and release merzoites, which penetrate red blood cells and mature into gametocytes.  Another insect takes a blood meal and ingest the gametocytes, and they undergo sexual reproduction in the insects midgut to produce oocysts, which rupture and release sporozoites.  These move to the salivary gland, and the process continues.

Cryptic Species and Convergent EvolutionEdit

These parasites are specialists on birds, and different species of Parahaemoproteus have specialized on different species of birds.  However, due to host switching, sometimes different species of parasite end up in the same species of bird, and through convergent evolution end up looking indistinguishable to the human eye.  They are cryptic species, those that look alike but are not immediately or necessarily even closely related.

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