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Scientific classification
Domain: Eukaryota
(unranked): Sar
(unranked): Alveolata
Phylum: Apicomplexa
Class: Conoidasida
Subclass: Coccidiasina
Order: Eucoccidiorida
Suborder: Eimeriorina
Family: Lankesterellidae
Genus: Schellackia

Schellackia balli [1]
Schellackia bolivari
Schellackia brugooi
Schellackia calotesi [2]
Schellackia cf agamae
Schellackia golvani
Schellackia iguanae
Schellackia landauae [3]
Schellackia legeri
Schellackia occidentalis [4]
Schellackia orientalis
Schellackia ptyodacryli
Schellackia weinbergi

Schellackia is a genus of parasitic alveolates within the phylum Apicomplexa. The genus was described in 1919 by Reichenow. Species in this genus infect reptiles and amphibians.

The type species is Schellackia bolivari.

Life cycle[edit]

The parasite undergoes asexual replication in the cells of the intestine. This is followed by the formation of macrogametocytes and microgametocytes which undergo sexual recombination. The fertilized zygote undergoes a series of divisions which result in sporozoites that invade the erythrocytes.

These cells are taken up in a blood meal of a mite where development of the parasite does not continue. The mite acts strictly as a passive vector. Lizards eat the mites and become infected when the parasite emerges from the erythrocytes in the lizard's (or toad's) stomach.

In some species orofaecal transmission occurs without the necessity of a passage through a mite.

The parasites may be seen in a stained blood smear. The parasites deform the erythrocytes into crescents and are visible as oval, pale staining bodies within the cell.

The sporozoites possess rhoptries, micronemes, apical rings and other structures typical of the members of this phylum.[5]


A study of the 18s rRNA gene suggests that this genus may have been placed incorrectly in the family Lankesterellidae.[6]


The genera Gordonella Ray & Sarkar, 1969 and Lainsonia Landau, 1973 are considered to be synonyms of this genus.[7]


  1. ^ Le Bail O, Landau I (1974) Description and experimental life cycle of Schellackia balli n. sp. (Lankesterellidae) a parasite of toads in Guyana. Ann Parasitol Hum Comp 49(6):663-668
  2. ^ Finkelman, S.; Paperna, I. (2014). "Schellackia calotesi n. sp. from agamid lizards of the genus Calotes in Thailand". Parasite. 5 (1): 23–26. doi:10.1051/parasite/1998051023. ISSN 1252-607X.  open access publication – free to read
  3. ^ Lainson, R, Shaw JJ, Ward RD (1976) Schellackia landauae sp. nov. (Eimeriorina: Lankesterellidae) in the Brazilian lizard Polychrus marmoratus (Iguanidae): experimental transmission by Culex pipiens fatigans. Parasitol 11 (2)
  4. ^ Bonorris, J.S., Ball, G.H.1955. Schellackia occidentalis n. sp., a blood-inhabiting coccidian found in lizards in Southern California. J Protozool 2: 31-34
  5. ^ Klein TA, Akin DC and Young DG (1992) Ultrastructure of sporozoites of Schellackia golvani (Eimeriorina: Lankesterellidae) in the green anole, Anolis carolinensis. Int J Parasitol. 22 (6) 767-772
  6. ^ Megía-Palma R, Martínez J, Merino S (2013) Phylogenetic analysis based on 18S rRNA gene sequences of Schellackia parasites (Apicomplexa: Lankesterellidae) reveals their close relationship to the genus Eimeria. Parasitology 140(9):1149-57. doi: 10.1017/S0031182013000553
  7. ^ Some corrections of coccidian (Apicomplexa: Protozoa) nomenclature. Levine, N. D (1980) J Parasitol 66 (5) 830-834 DOI 10.2307/3280679