Different Types and Life Cycle of Malaria Parasites

Malarial Parasites: Types, Classification and Life Cycle

What is Malaria Disease?

Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease affecting humans and other animals caused by parasitic protozoans (a group of single-celled microorganisms) belonging to the Plasmodium type. Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever, tiredness, vomiting, and headaches.

Malarial parasites
Fig: Malarial parasites

Malaria is an infectious disease caused by plasmodium and transmitted by the bite of female anopheles mosquito, characterized by-fever, anemia, splenomegaly etc.

Classification or Types of Malarial Parasites or Plasmodium:

It includes the following:

  • Plasmodium vivax,
  • Plasmodium falciparum,
  • Plasmodium ovale,
  • Plasmodium malariae.

Name of Species of Malarial Parasites Found in Bangladesh:

The following 2 species of plasmodium are more common in Bangladesh–

  1. Plasmodium vivax: common in plain land.
  2. Plasmodium falciparum: common in hilly areas.

Name of Clinical Types of Malaria and the Causative Plasmodium Parasites:

Clinical types of malaria

Plasmodium Parasites

Benign tertian malaria

  • Plasmodium vivax
  • Plasmodium ovale

Malignant tertian malaria

  • Plasmodium falciparum

Quartan malaria

  • Plasmodium malariae

Difference between Plasmodium Falciparum and Plasmodium Vivax:


Plasmodium Falciparum

Plasmodium Vivax

Duration of asexual phase in man

36-48 hrs, Usually 48 hrs

48 hrs

Duration of sporogony in mosquito

22-23 days at 20°C

10-12 days at 27°C

30 days at 17.5°C

10 days at 25-30°C

Duration of intrahepatic phase

5.5 days

8 days

Duration of Schizogony

12 days

14 days

Forms found in the smear

Rings and banana shaped gametocytes

Trophozoites, schizonts and gametocytes

Level of usual maximum parasitemia

May exceed 200,000/µl, commonly 50,000/µl.

Up to 30,000/µl of blood

Red cell preference

Younger cells (but can invade cells of all ages)

Reticulocytes and red cells up to 2 weeks old

Parasitized Red cells

Not enlarge. Coarse stippling (Maurer’s clefts)

Enlarged, pale. Fine stippling (Schuffner’s dots)

Pigment Color

Black and Dark Brown

Yellow or Golden Brown

Ability to cause relapses



Pigment in developing trophozoites

Coarse, black, few clumps

Fine, Light brown, scattered

Late Trophozoite

  • Compact
  • Medium Sized
  • Rarely amoeboid
  • Vacuole inconspicuous
  • Pleomorphic
  • Large
  • Markedly amoeboid
  •  Vacuole prominent

Life Cycle of Malarial Parasites:

Life cycle of malaria parasites: – the cycle is completed by two cycles,

  • Human cycle,
  • Mosquito cycle.

Schizogony or asexual human cycle:-

Mosquito bite sporozoite enters → exoerythrocytic cycle in hepatocytes → merozoites → enter red cell→ ring trophozoite → mature trophozoite → immature schizont → mature schizont → merozoites → enter red cells → microgametocyte and macro gametocyte → the cycle is repeated.

Sporogony or sexual mosquito cycle:-

Mosquito bite infected human and takes blood → fertilization of microgamete and macrogamete → zygote → oocyst → sporozoites in oocyst → sporozoites in salivaof mosquito → the cycle is repeated.

More questions related to this article:

  1. What is malaria?
  2. What do you mean by malaria?
  3. Name the malarial parasites.
  4. What is the classification of Plasmodium?
  5. What are the different types of Plasmodium?
  6. Mention the classification of malarial parasites.
  7. What are the different types of malarial parasites?
  8. Name the species of malarial parasites found in Bangladesh.
  9. Which species of plasmodium are common in Bangladesh?
  10. Name the clinical types of malaria and the causative plasmodium parasites.
  11. Write down the difference between Plasmodium Falciparum and Plasmodium Vivax.
  12. Write down the life cycle of malaria parasite.

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