Taxonomy and species delimitation in Cryptosporidium

Exp Parasitol. 2010 Jan;124(1):90-7. doi: 10.1016/j.exppara.2009.03.005. Epub 2009 Mar 18.


Amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals serve as hosts for 19 species of Cryptosporidium. All 19 species have been confirmed by morphological, biological, and molecular data. Fish serve as hosts for three additional species, all of which lack supporting molecular data. In addition to the named species, gene sequence data from more than 40 isolates from various vertebrate hosts are reported in the scientific literature or are listed in GenBank. These isolates lack taxonomic status and are referred to as genotypes based on the host of origin. Undoubtedly, some will eventually be recognized as species. For them to receive taxonomic status sufficient morphological, biological, and molecular data are required and names must comply with the rules of the International Code for Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN). Because the ICZN rules may be interpreted differently by persons proposing names, original names might be improperly assigned, original literature might be overlooked, or new scientific methods might be applicable to determining taxonomic status, the names of species and higher taxa are not immutable. The rapidly evolving taxonomic status of Cryptosporidium sp. reflects these considerations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amphibians / parasitology*
  • Animals
  • Bird Diseases / parasitology*
  • Birds
  • Cryptosporidiosis / parasitology
  • Cryptosporidiosis / veterinary
  • Cryptosporidium / classification*
  • Cryptosporidium / genetics
  • Fish Diseases / parasitology*
  • Fishes
  • Humans
  • Mammals / parasitology*
  • Reptiles / parasitology*