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Scientific classification
Sarcocystidae Poche 1913
Frenkelia Biocca 1968

Frenkelia clethrionomyobuteonis
Frenkelia glareoli
Frenkelia microti

Frenkelia is a genus of parasites in the phylum Apicomplexa. The species in this genus infect the gasterointestinal tracts of birds of prey (definitive hosts) and the tissues of small rodents (intermediate hosts).


Species of this genus share antigens with Sarcocystis.[1] DNA studies suggest that this genus should be merged with Sarcocystis.[2][3]

Despite several recommendations, abolition of this genus has not yet been approved.[4][5]


The parasites undergo sexual reproduction in the gut of the definitive host — a bird of prey. They form cysts and are then eaten by a small rodent. Within the gut of the rodent, the parasites decyst. They invade the intestinal wall and are carried to the liver. They undergo schizogony in the hepatocytes and Kupffer cells. They then invade the nervous tissue of the rodent host, forming cystic structures.[6] The infected rodent is then eaten by a bird, when the tissue cysts are digested, releasing the parasites. The parasites invade the enterocytes, undergo merogony and gametogony. Gametes are formed which then fuse forming a zygote that undergoes encystation.

Host records[edit]

Unknown parasite species[edit]


  1. ^ Cerná Z, Kolárová I (1978). "Contribution to the serological diagnosis of sarcocystosis". Folia Parasitol. 25 (4): 289–92. PMID 105972.
  2. ^ Votýpka J, Hypsa V, Jirků M, Flegr J, Vávra J, Lukes J (1998). "Molecular phylogenetic relatedness of Frenkelia spp. (Protozoa, Apicomplexa) to Sarcocystis falcatula Stiles 1893: is the genus Sarcocystis paraphyletic?". J. Eukaryot. Microbiol. 45 (1): 137–41. doi:10.1111/j.1550-7408.1998.tb05081.x. PMID 9495042.
  3. ^ Olias P, Gruber AD, Heydorn AO, Kohls A, Mehlhorn H, Hafez HM, Lierz M (2009). "A novel Sarcocystis-associated encephalitis and myositis in racing pigeons". Avian Pathol. 38 (2): 121–8. doi:10.1080/03079450902737847. PMID 19322710.
  4. ^ Modrý D, Votýpka J, Svobodová M (2004). "Note on the Taxonomy of Frenkelia microti (Findlay & Middleton, 1934) (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae)". Syst. Parasitol. 58 (3): 185–7. doi:10.1023/B:SYPA.0000032924.63708.57. PMID 15218365.
  5. ^ Mugridge NB, Morrison DA, Jäkel T, Heckeroth AR, Tenter AM, Johnson AM (2000). "Effects of sequence alignment and structural domains of ribosomal DNA on phylogeny reconstruction for the protozoan family sarcocystidae". Mol. Biol. Evol. 17 (12): 1842–53. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a026285. PMID 11110900.
  6. ^ Geisel O, Kaiser E, Vogel O, Krampitz HE, Rommel M (1979). "Pathomorphologic findings in short-tailed voles (Microtus agrestis) experimentally-infected with Frenkelia microti". J. Wildl. Dis. 15 (2): 267–70. doi:10.7589/0090-3558-15.2.267. PMID 113563.