Sarcocystis and Hepatozoon species are protozoan parasites that are frequently detected in domestic and wild animals. Rodents are considered common intermediate and paratenic hosts for several Sarcocystis and Hepatozoon species. Here, blood DNA samples from a total of six rodents, including one Myodes rutilus, one Myodes rufocanus, and four Apodemus speciosus, collected from Hokkaido, Japan, were shown by conventional PCR of the 18S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene to contain Sarcocystis and Hepatozoon DNA. Sequencing of the DNA detected one Sarcocystis sp. in the M. rufocanus sample and two different Hepatozoon spp. in the M. rutilus and A. speciosus samples. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the detected Sarcocystis sp. sequence grouped with GenBank Sarcocystis sequences from rodents, snakes, and raccoons from Japan and China. The 18S rRNA partial gene sequences of both detected Hepatozoon spp. clustered with GenBank Hepatozoon sequences from snakes, geckos and voles in Europe, Africa, and Asia. This study provides evidence that wild rodents have a role in the maintenance of Sarcocystis and Hepatozoon species on the island of Hokkaido.
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