Trichomonas gallinae

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Trichomonas gallinae
Kingdom Protista
Phylum Protozoa
Order Trichomonadida
Family Trichomonadidae
Genus Trichomonas
Species Trichomonas gallinae


Trichomonas sp. with Giemsa staining. Note the posterior flagellae and undulating membrane. (Source - Wikimedia Commons)

Trichomonas gallinae is the protozoal pathogen responsible for Avian Trichomonosis.

The parasite is identifiable microscopically by its four anterior flagellae and well developed undulating membrane on one side. T. gallinae has no posterior flagellum. Its body is divided by an axostyle.

The ellipsoid nucleus of the parasite is usually found in the posterior aspect of the organism.

T. gallinae requires sugars, starch and glycogen from host cells to survive and replicate.


Trichomonas gallinae is present worldwide in wild birds particularly the pigeon and other Columbids.

Transmission between pigeons occurs orally during feeding and mating behaviour.

Transmission to domestic chickens and turkeys is achieved through contaminated water troughs that have been visited by wild birds.


T. gallinae causes yellow, necrotic lesions and plaques in the gastrointestinal tract of birds, particularly in the crop and oesophagus. Anaemia is caused when the parasite binds to erythrocytes and ingests them. It is then phagocytosed by leucocytes. For more information see avian trichomoniasis.

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This article was originally sourced from The Animal Health & Production Compendium (AHPC) published online by CABI during the OVAL Project.

The datasheet was accessed on 2 June 2011.