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malaria parasitethe PROTOZOAN Plasmodium that causes malaria in man. It is transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito which takes in Plasmodium GAMETOCYTES when feeding on man. The gametocytes develop into male and female gametes in the mosquito stomach, and after fertilization the ZYGOTE bores through the stomach wall, encysts, and gives rise to thousands of sporozoites which then migrate to the salivary glands. The sporozoites are transferred to man at a subsequent blood meal during which anticoagulants are injected with the saliva to prevent blood clotting.
Sporozoites invade the human liver and give rise to merozoites that invade red blood corpuscles. Further production of merozoites occurs in the red blood corpuscle and their release into the blood stream gives rise to bouts of fever (‘malaria’). Gametocytes arise from merozoites which invade further red blood corpuscles, grow within them, and are withdrawn by the mosquito during feeding, to complete the life cycle.