At least three Sarcocystis species (S. falcatula, S. halieti and S. wobeseri–like) have been detected infecting raptorial birds. By histopathology and PCR-sequencing of the ITS1 marker, S. halieti was detected in a bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) and a black kite (Milvus migrans) from the Catalonia region in North Spain. The 241 bp-long sequences obtained from the Sarcocystis organisms detected in both raptors showed 97.5–99.6% and 97.9–100% similarity with those of previously identified S. halieti; also, the phylogenetic trees generated placed the identified sequences together with other sequences of S. halieti available in GenBank. In sum, the description of the bearded vulture as a new intermediate host for S. halieti adds new insights on the complex epidemiology of the genus involving avian hosts.
- Raptorial birds