Differences Between Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax

Malaria parasites are sporozoans and belongs to order Haemosporida. The genus Plasmodium has been subdivided into nine subgenera, of which three are found in mammals, four in birds and two in lizards. According to the classification, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium malariae belong to the subgenus Plasmodium, and Plasmodium falciparum belongs to the subgenera Laverania.
Differences Between Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax
Differences Between Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax with characters are given below:


P. faciparum

P. 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 days8 days

Duration of Schizogony

12 days14 days

Forms found in the smear

Rings and banana shaped gametocytesTrophozoites, schizonts and gametocytes

Level of usual maximum parasitemia

May exceed 200,000/µl, commonly 50,000/µlUp to 30,000/µl of blood

No. of merozoites released per infected hepatocyte


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 BrownYellow or Golden Brown

Ability to cause relapses


Ring Stage Trophozoite

Small rings (1/5 red cell diameter).
Often two granules.
Multiple rings common.
Large rings (1/3 to 1/2 diameter).
Single chromatin granule.
Two rings in one cell.

Pigment in developing trophozoites

Coarse, black, few clumpsFine, Light brown, scattered

Late Trophozoite

Medium Sized
Rarely amoeboid
Vacuole inconspicuous.
Markedly amoeboid
Vacuole prominent.


Small, compact,
Single pigmented mass
Seldom seen in the peripheral blood smear
Large, amoeboid,
Pigments coarse
Can be seen in the blood smear

Mature Schizont (segmenters)

8-16 (Usually 8-18).12-14 (Usually 12-18)


Kidney-shaped with blunt round ends.
Cytoplasm stains pale blue.
Nucleus large.
Chromatin diffuse.
Granules fine, scattered.
Spherical, compact.
Cytoplasm stains pale light blue.
Chromatin undivided.
Granules abundant.


Cytoplasm stains dark blue.
Nucleus compact.
Chromatin central.
Pigment more compact.
Cytoplasm stains dark blue.
Nucleus small.
Pigment diffuse ecoarse.


Malignant tertian malariaBenign tertian malaria

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