Lowland populations of the Plasmodium berghei group are compared with strains from the highlands of Katanga, Republic of Zaire, and it is concluded that the former warrant separate specific status. It is proposed that Plasmodium berghei yoelii of the Central African Republic be raised to a species, P. yoelii, and the lowland subspecies from the CAR, Brazzaville and Nigeria be moved to this species as P. y. yoelii, P. y. killicki and P. y. nigeriensis. P. berghei from Katanga would then revert to a monotypic species.
Differences between P. berghei and P. yoelii are in distribution, hosts, optimum temperatures of sporogony, sizes of mature oocysts and of sporozoites, rates of growth and minimum maturation times of tissue schizonts in the liver of the white rat, the forms of six enzymes and the DNA.
Differences between three subspecies of P. yoelii are in distribution, the sizes of mature oocysts and of sporozoites, sizes of tissue schizonts in the liver of the white rat, the effect of tissue forms on the nuclei of infected parenchymal cells and the electrophoretic forms of the enzyme GDH.