Ophryocystis elektroscirrha

Ophryocystis elektroscirrha

''Ophryocystis elektroscirrha'' is an obligate, neogregarine protozoan parasite that infects monarch and queen butterflies. There are no other known hosts. The species was first discovered in Florida, around the late 1960s. Since then, it has been found in every monarch population examined to date, including monarchs sampled in North America, Hawaii, Australia, Cuba, and Central and South America.

Dormant spores occur on the cuticles of butterflies, in between the butterfly's scales. They are small, brown or black objects about 1/100th the width of a butterfly scale.

The only currently known way of treating the ''Ophryocystis'' parasite is by soaking the host's eggs in a light bleach solution, which kills the spores that are present on the eggs' surface.
Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE) infected Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexxipus) OE is a protozoan parasite that is spread from spores. The spores are packed between scales on an infected Monarch's body and when it lays eggs, the OE often attaches to the egg shell. OE causes weakness, disfigurement, and lethargy. These deformed butterflies don't live long and cannot be saved.

OE infection in an adult can be confirmed by pressing a piece of clear tape on the butterfly's abdomen to pick up the spores. OE spores are visible under a microscope, and they look like tiny footballs.

Habitat: Coastal garden Danaus,Danaus plexippus,Geotagged,Monarch butterfly,Ophryocystis,Ophryocystis elektroscirrha,Summer,United States,butterfly,monarch


''Ophryocystis elektroscirrha'' is usually transmitted from females to their offspring when the females scatter spores on their egg chorions and surfaces of milkweed leaves, the host plant of monarchs and queens, during oviposition . Male butterflies can also have O.e. disease, and will scatter the dormant spores onto Milkweed leaves as they fly around, and can scatter spores onto a female butterfly during mating.The female that has spores scattered onto her during mating does not have the disease, but now can scatter those dormant spores onto the eggs she lays or onto Milkweed leaves. Milkweeds contains toxins that partially protect monarch larvae. The spores are ingested by the larvae. After they enter a host's gut, the spores open and emerging sporozoites penetrate a larva's gut wall and migrate to its hypoderm , where they undergo two phases of vegetative reproduction. After the caterpillar pupates, ''O. elektroscirrha'' starts reproducing sexually. Three days before adults emerge, developing parasite spores can be seen through their pupal integuments. The adult butterflies emerge covered with spores, mostly on their abdomens. Parasites do not continue to replicate on adult butterflies and spores must be eaten by larvae before they can cause new infections.


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FamilyUnknown family
SpeciesO. elektroscirrha