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Evidence for trophic transfer of Inodosporus octospora and Ovipleistophora arlo n. sp. (Microsporidia) between crustacean and fish hosts

  • G.D. Stentiford (a1) (a2), S. Ross (a1) (a2), D. Minardi (a1) (a2), S.W. Feist (a1), K.S. Bateman (a1) (a2), P.A. Gainey (a3), C. Troman (a4) and D. Bass (a1) (a2) (a4)...


Within aquatic habitats, the hyper-abundant Order Crustacea appear to be the predominant host group for members of the Phylum Microsporidia. The musculature, a common site of infection, provides access to biochemical (carbohydrate-rich) and physiological (mitochondria-rich) conditions conducive to prolific parasite replication and maturation. The significant proportion of body plan devoted to skeletal musculature in Crustacea provides the location for a highly efficient intracellular parasite factory. In this study, we utilize histological, ultrastructural and phylogenetic evidence to describe a previously known (Inodosporus octospora) and novel (Ovipleistophora arlo n. sp.) microsporidian parasites infecting the musculature of the common prawn (Palaemon serratus) from the same site, at the same time of year. Despite similar clinical signs of infection, both parasites are otherwise distinct in terms of pathogenesis, morphology and phylogeny. Based upon partial subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU rDNA) sequence, we show that that I. octospora may be identical to a Kabatana sp. previously described infecting two-spot goby (Gobiusculus flavescens) in Europe, or at least that Inodosporus and Kabatana genera are synonyms. In addition, SSU rDNA sequence for O. arlo places it within a distinct clade containing Ovipleistophora mirandellae and Ovipleistophora ovariae, both infecting the oocytes of freshwater fish in Europe. Taken together, our data provide strong evidence for trophic-transfer between crustacean and fish hosts for two different microsporidians within clade 5 of the phylum. Furthermore, it demonstrates that morphologically and phylogenetically distinct microsporidians can infect the same tissues of the same host species to impart clinical signs which mimic infection with the other.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: G.D. Stentiford, E-mail:


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Evidence for trophic transfer of Inodosporus octospora and Ovipleistophora arlo n. sp. (Microsporidia) between crustacean and fish hosts

  • G.D. Stentiford (a1) (a2), S. Ross (a1) (a2), D. Minardi (a1) (a2), S.W. Feist (a1), K.S. Bateman (a1) (a2), P.A. Gainey (a3), C. Troman (a4) and D. Bass (a1) (a2) (a4)...


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