Study of Blood Parasites of the Three Snake Species in Iran: Natrix natrix, Natrix tessellata and Zamenis longissimus (Colubridae)

Document Type : Research Article


Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran


Infections with blood parasites are common phenomenon in reptiles from all over the world. Apicomplexan are the majority of blood parasites that frequently occur with high levels of parasitaemia in the snakes. The aim of this study was to determine the presence of blood parasites in some snakes Guilan province in the North of Iran. A total of 51 specimens of three snake species were captured including 18 specimens of Natrix natrix, 30 of Natrix tessellata and three from Zamenis longissimus. Blood sampling was carried out from the caudal vein by insulin syringe. The blood smears were stained with Giemsa solution and examined by light microscopy for heamoparasites. We found one species of Hepatozoon sp. as well as two intra-erythrocytic structures that we referred them to Rickettsia and Serpentoplasma in the snakes. The Serpentoplasmawith small amoeboid shape only detected in N. tessellate. But the Rickettsia which is bigger in size and formed roughly spherical inclusions detected in both Natrix species. This finding of haemoparasites represents for the first time in these snakes.


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