Histopathological screening of Pontogammarus robustoides (Amphipoda), an invader on route to the United Kingdom

Daniel Warren, Amy Burgess, Sebastian Prati, Karolina Bacela-Spychalska, Martin Rogers, Jamie Bojko

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Biological invasions may act as conduits for pathogen introduction. To determine which invasive non-native species pose the biggest threat, we must first determine the symbionts (pathogens, parasites, commensals, mutualists) they carry, via pathological surveys that can be conducted in multiple ways (i.e., molecular, pathological, and histological). Whole animal histopathology allows for the observation of pathogenic agents (virus to Metazoa), based on their pathological effect upon host tissue. Where the technique cannot accurately predict pathogen taxonomy, it does highlight pathogen groups of importance. This study provides a histopathological survey of Pontogammarus robustoides (invasive amphipod in Europe) as a baseline for symbiont groups that may translocate to other areas/hosts in future invasions. Pontogammarus robustoides (n = 1,141) collected throughout Poland (seven sites), were noted to include a total of 13 symbiotic groups: a putative gut epithelia virus (overall prevalence = 0.6%), a putative hepatopancreatic cytoplasmic virus (1.4%), a hepatopancreatic bacilliform virus (15.7%), systemic bacteria (0.7%), fouling ciliates (62.0%), gut gregarines (39.5%), hepatopancreatic gregarines (0.4%), haplosporidians (0.4%), muscle infecting microsporidians (6.4%), digeneans (3.5%), external rotifers (3.0%), an endoparasitic arthropod (putatively: Isopoda) (0.1%), and Gregarines with putative microsporidian infections (1.4%). Parasite assemblages partially differed across collection sites. Co-infection patterns revealed strong positive and negative associations between five parasites. Microsporidians were common across sites and could easily spread to other areas following the invasion of P. robustoides. By providing this initial histopathological survey, we hope to provide a concise list of symbiont groups for risk-assessment in the case of a novel invasion by this highly invasive amphipod.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107970
JournalJournal of Invertebrate Pathology
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2023


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