The South American opossum, Didelphis marsupialis, from Brazil as another definitive host for Sarcocystis speeri Dubey and Lindsay, 1999
The North American opossum, Didelphis virginiana, is a definitive host for at least 3 species of Sarcocystis: S. falcatula Stiles 1983, S. neurona Dubey, Davis, Speer, Bowman, de Lahunta, Granstrom, Topper, Hamir, Cummings, Suter 1991, and S. speeri Dubey and Lindsay 1999. In order to identify species of Sarcocystis in the South American opossum, D. marsupialis, Sarcocystis sporocysts from the intestines of a naturally infected opossum (D. marsupialis) from Brazil were fed to 4 gamma-interferon knockout (KO) mice, a nude mouse, and 2 budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus). All 4 KO mice became ill and 1 died 42 days post-feeding (p.f.) of sporocysts, 1 was killed 44 days p.f. because of neurological signs, and 2 were killed 52 and 53 days p.f, because of abnormal gaits. Numerous sarcocysts were seen in the skeletal muscles of all 4 KO mice and they were structurally identical to S. speeri seen in KO mice fed sporocysts from D. virginiana from the United States and D. albiventris from Argentina. The nude mouse was killed 41 days p.f. because it appeared weak; schizonts were seen in sections of its liver and sarcocysts were seen in sections of skeletal muscles. Sarcocystis speeri was cultured in bovine turbinate cells inoculated with liver homogenate from this mouse. Sarcocystis neurona was not demonstrable in tissues of mice. The tale budgerigars remained asymptomatic and S. falcatula was not found in their tissues when they were killed 29 days p.i. This is the first report of S. speeri from D. marsupialis.