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Scientific classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Superphylum: Alveolata
Phylum: Apicomplexa
Class: Aconoidasida
Order: Haemosporida

The Haemosporida (sometimes called Haemospororida) are an order of intraerythrocytic parasitic protozoa.


Over 500 species are in this order, organised into four families: the Garniidae, the Haemoproteidae, the Leucocytozoidae, and the Plasmodiidae. The majority of the species lie within three genera: Haemoproteus, Leucocytozoon, and Plasmodium.

The Haemoproteidae and the Plasmodiidae both produce pigment. These families have been placed in the suborder Laveraniina. Neither the Haemoproteidae nor the Leucocytozoidae have an asexual cycle in the peripheral blood. The Garniidae do not produce pigment, but do have an asexual cycle in the blood.

The taxa in detail are:


The genus Mesnilium is the only group that infects fish. The genus has a single species and has been reported only once. IThis genus may have been mistakenly placed in this genus. DNA studies are likely to be needed to clarify this point.

Several genera infect mammals: Bioccala, Biguetiella, Dionisia, Hepatocystis, Plasmodium, Polychromophilus, Nycteria, and Rayella.

The insect vectors of Hepatocystis, Plasmodium and Polychromophilus are Ceratopogonidae, Culicidae, and Nycteribiidae, respectively. The vectors of Nycteria and Rayella are currently unknown. Bioccala also uses Nycteribiidae as its insect vector.

Rayella is thought to have originated from Hepatocystis.[4][5]

Other genera that may be related[edit]

Pirhemocyton although once thought to be a protozoan has since been shown to be intraerythrocytic inclusion bodies due to a viral infection.


Morrison has shown using molecular data that the Haemosporidia are nested within the gregarines and that this clade is distinct from the piroplasms.[6] This latter clade is a sister group of the coccidians.


  1. ^ Lainson R, Landau I, Shaw JJ (December 1971). "On a new family of non-pigmented parasites in the blood of reptiles: Garniidae fam. nov., (Coccidiida: Haemosporidiidea). Some species of the new genus Garnia". Int. J. Parasitol. 1 (3-4): 241–4. doi:10.1016/0020-7519(71)90027-0. 
  2. ^ Landau I, Chavatte J.-M., Karadjian, G, Chabaud A & Beveridge I (2012) The haemosporidian parasites of bats with description of Sprattiella alecto gen. nov., sp. nov. Parasite 19(2):137-146
  3. ^ Landau I, Chavatte JM, Peters W, Chabaud A (March 2010). "The sub-genera of avian Plasmodium". Parasite. 17 (1): 3–7. doi:10.1051/parasite/2010171003. PMID 20387732. 
  4. ^ Garnham PCC (1966). Malaria parasites and other Haemosporidia. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific. ISBN 0397601328. 
  5. ^ Mattingly PF (1983). "The paleogeography of mosquito-borne disease". Biol J Linn Soc Lond. 19 (2): 185–210. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8312.1983.tb00783.x. 
  6. ^ Morrison DA (August 2009). "Evolution of the Apicomplexa: where are we now?". Trends Parasitol. 25 (8): 375–82. doi:10.1016/j.pt.2009.05.010. PMID 19635681.