Revising the Freshwater Thelohania to Astathelohania gen. et comb. nov., and Description of Two New Species

Cheyenne Stratton, Lindsey Reisinger, Donald Behringer, Jamie Bojko

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Abstract

Crayfish are common hosts of microsporidian parasites, prominently from the genus Thelohania. Thelohania is a polyphyletic genus, with multiple genetically distinct lineages found from freshwater and marine environments. Researchers have been calling for a revision of this group for over a decade. We provide evidence that crayfish-infecting freshwater Thelohania are genetically and phylogenetically distinct from the marine Thelohania (Clade V/Glugeida), whilst also describing two new species that give further support to the taxonomic revision. We propose that the freshwater Thelohania should be transferred to their own genus, Astathelohania gen. et comb. nov., in a new family (Astathelohaniidae n. fam.). This results in the revision of Thelohania contejeani (Astathelohania contejeani), Thelohania montirivulorum (Astathelohania montirivulorum), and Thelohania parastaci (Astathelohania parastaci). We also describe two novel muscle-infecting Astathelohania species, A. virili n. sp. and A. rusti n. sp., from North American crayfishes (Faxonius sp.). We used histological, molecular, and ultrastructural data to formally describe the novel isolates. Our data suggest that the Astathelohania are genetically distinct from other known microsporidian genera, outside any described family, and that their SSU rRNA gene sequence diversity follows their host species and native geographic location. The range of this genus currently includes North America, Europe, and Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Article number636
JournalMicroorganisms
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2022

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