DAO 46:197-212 (2001)  -  doi:10.3354/dao046197

Ultrastructure and small-subunit ribosomal DNA sequence of Henneguya lesteri n.sp. (Myxosporea), a parasite of sand whiting Sillago analis (Sillaginidae) from the coast of Queensland, Australia

Sascha L. Hallett1, Ariel Diamant2,*

1Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia
2The National Center for Mariculture, Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute, PO Box 1212, Eilat 88112, Israel
*Corresponding author. E-mail:

ABSTRACT: Henneguya lesteri n.sp. (Myxosporea) is described from sand whiting, Sillago analis, from the southern Queensland coast of Australia. H. lesteri displays a preference for the pseudobranchs and is typically positioned along the afferent blood vessels, displacing the adjoining lamellae and disrupting their normal array. The plasmodia appeared as whitish-hyaline, elliptical cysts (mean dimensions 230 x 410 µm) attached to the oral mucosa lining of the hyoid arch on the inner surface of the operculum. Infections of the gills were also found, in which the plasmodia were spherical, averaged 240 x 240 µm in size and were located on the inner hemibranch margin. The parasites lodged in the gill filament crypts and generated a mild hyperplastic response of the branchial epithelium. In histological sections, the plasmodium wall and adjoining ectoplasm appeared as a finely granulated, weakly eosinophilic layer. Ultrastructurally, this section of the host-parasite interface contained an intricate complex of pinocytotic channels. H. lesteri is polysporic, disporoblastic and pansporoblast forming. Sporogenesis is asynchronous, with the earliest developmental stages aligned predominantly along the plasmodium periphery, and maturing sporoblasts and spores toward the center. Ultrastructural details of sporoblast and spore development are in agreement with previously described myxosporeans. The mature spore is drop-shaped, length (mean) 9.1 µm, width 4.7 µm, thickness 2.5 µm, and comprises 2 polar capsules positioned closely together, a binucleated sporoplasm and a caudal process of 12.6 µm. The polar capsules are elongated, 3.2 x 1.6 µm, with 4 turns of the polar filament. Mean length of the everted filament is 23.2 µm. Few studies have analyzed the 18S gene of marine Myxosporea. In fact, H. lesteri is the first marine species of Henneguya to be characterized at the molecular level: we determined 1966 bp of the small-subunit (18S) rDNA. The results indicated that differences between this and the hitherto studied freshwater Henneguya species are greater than differences among the freshwater Henneguya species.

KEY WORDS: Marine Myxosporea · Pseudobranchs · Gills · Ultrastructure · 18S rDNA gene sequence

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