DAO 101:185-195 (2012)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02534

Large-scale infection of the ascidian Ciona intestinalis by the gregarine Lankesteria ascidiae in an inland culture system

Kaoru Mita1, Narudo Kawai1,2, Sonja Rueckert1,3, Yasunori Sasakura1,*

1Shimoda Marine Research Center, University of Tsukuba, Shimoda, Shizuoka 415-0025, Japan
2Present address: Department of Biology, Research and Education Center for Natural Sciences, Keio University, 4-1-1 Hiyoshi, Kohoku-ku, Yokohama 223-8521, Japan 3Present address: School of Life, Sport & Social Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University, Sighthill Campus, Sighthill Court, Edinburgh EH11 4BN, UK
*‑Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: An important way to keep transgenic and mutant lines of the ascidian Ciona intestinalis, a model system for e.g. genetic functions, in laboratories is via culturing systems. Here we report a disease of C. intestinalis observed in an inland culturing system. The disease, called ‘long feces syndrome,’ is expressed in affected animals by the following characteristic symptoms of the digestive system: (1) excretion of long and thin feces, (2) pale color of the stomach, and (3) congestion of the digestive tube by digested material. Severely diseased animals usually die within a week after the first symptoms occur, implying a high risk of this disease for ascidian culturing systems. The digestive tubes of the diseased animals are occupied by the gregarine apicomplexan parasite Lankesteria ascidiae, suggesting that large-scale infection by this parasite is the cause of long feces syndrome.


KEY WORDS: Parasite · Apicomplexan · Digestive tube · Stomach · Congestion · Long feces syndrome · Disease


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Cite this article as: Mita K, Kawai N, Rueckert S, Sasakura Y (2012) Large-scale infection of the ascidian Ciona intestinalis by the gregarine Lankesteria ascidiae in an inland culture system. Dis Aquat Org 101:185-195. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02534

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