Parahepatospora carcini n. gen. n. sp., is a novel microsporidian parasite discovered infecting the cytoplasm of epithelial cells of the hepatopancreas of a single Carcinus maenas specimen. The crab was sampled from within its invasive range in Atlantic Canada (Nova Scotia). Histopathology and transmission electron microscopy were used to show the development of the parasite within a simple interfacial membrane, culminating in the formation of unikaryotic spores with 5–6 turns of an isofilar polar filament. Formation of a multinucleate meront (>12 nuclei observed) preceded thickening and invagination of the plasmodial membrane, and in many cases, formation of spore extrusion precursors (polar filaments, anchoring disk) prior to complete separation of pre-sporoblasts from the sporogonial plasmodium. This developmental feature is intermediate between the Enterocytozoonidae (formation of spore extrusion precursors within the sporont plasmodium) and all other Microsporidia (formation of spore extrusion precursors after separation of sporont from the sporont plasmodium). SSU rRNA-based gene phylogenies place P. carcini within microsporidian Clade IV, between the Enterocytozoonidae and the so-called Enterocytospora-clade, which includes Enterocytospora artemiae and Globulispora mitoportans. Both of these groups contain gut-infecting microsporidians of aquatic invertebrates, fish and humans. According to morphological and phylogenetic characters, we propose that P. carcini occupies a basal position to the Enterocytozoonidae. We discuss the discovery of this parasite from a taxonomic perspective and consider its origins and presence within a high profile invasive host on the Atlantic Canadian coastline.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Journal of Invertebrate Pathology|
|Early online date||18 Dec 2016|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|