The 16S rRNA sequence of newly characterized haemotrophic bacteria in an opossum (Didelphis virginiana) and alpaca (Lama pacos) was determined. In addition, the 16S rRNA sequence of a haemotrophic parasite in the dog (Canis familiaris) was determined. Sequence alignment and evolutionary analysis as well as secondary structural similarity and signature nucleotide sequence motifs of their 16S rRNA genes, positioned these organisms in the genus Mycoplasma. The highest scoring sequence similarities were 16S rRNA genes from haemotrophic mycoplasma species (Haemobartonella and Eperythrozoon spp.). However, the lack of several higher-order structural idiosyncrasies used to define the pneumoniae group, suggests that these organisms and related haemotrophic mycoplasmas represent a new group of mycoplasmas. It is recommended that the organisms be named 'Candidatus Mycoplasma haemodidelphidis', 'Candidatus Mycoplasma haemolamae' and Mycoplasma haemocanis comb. nov., to provide some indication of the target cell and host species of these parasites, and to reflect their phylogenetic affiliation.


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