Scientists Find Soaring Variety of Malaria Parasites in Bats

This Peter's dwarf epauletted fruit bat (Micropteropus pusillus) is shown with the Hepatocystis malaria parasite (inset). ©Juliane Schaer

This Peter's dwarf epauletted fruit bat (Micropteropus pusillus) is shown with the Hepatocystis malaria parasite (inset).

©Juliane Schaer


Researchers have discovered a surprising diversity of malaria parasites in West African bats as well as new evidence of evolutionary jumps to rodent hosts. Led by scientists at the American Museum of Natural History, the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, and the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, the new study reveals that two bat-infecting parasites are closely related to parasites in rodents that are commonly used to model human malaria in laboratory studies. The results will be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences