DAO 69:213-225 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/dao069213

Myxozoan parasites disseminated via oligochaete worms as live food for aquarium fishes: descriptions of aurantiactinomyxon and raabeia actinospore types

Sascha L. Hallett1,3, Stephen D. Atkinson1,3, Christer Erséus2,4, Mansour El-Matbouli1,*

1Institute of Zoology, Fish Biology and Fish Diseases, University of Munich, Kaulbachstrasse 37, 80539 Munich, Germany
2Department of Invertebrate Zoology, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Box 50007, 104 05 Stockholm, Sweden
3Present address: Center for Fish Disease Research, Department of Microbiology, Oregon State University, Nash Hall 220, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA
4Present address: Department of Zoology, Göteborg University, Box 463, 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden
*-Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: A total of 7 samples of live freshwater oligochaetes (mixed species), sold as ‘tubifex’ worms as food for aquarium fishes, were purchased over a 1 yr period from several pet shops in Munich, Germany, and screened for parasitic infections of myxozoans. The water associated with 5 samples contained actinospores at the time of purchase; 6 samples subsequently released spores in the laboratory. In all, 12 types of actinospores (Myxozoa: Myxosporea) from 4 collective groups were released by the oligochaetes. In the current study we provide descriptions of 2 aurantiactinomyxons (Myxobolus intimus Zaika, 1965 and type 1 nov.) and 3 raabeias (type 1 and 2 nov., Raabeia type 1 of Oumouna et al., 2003); descriptions of the 5 triactinomyxon and 2 hexactinomyxon types have been published previously. We include both raabeia and echinactinomyxon types in differential diagnoses of our raabeia forms because a clear distinction between these groups no longer exists in the literature. Comparison of 18S rDNA sequence data revealed that 1 of the novel aurantiactinomyxons was Myxobolus intimus. The sale of worms hundreds of km away from their point of origin is a means of dissemination of myxozoan parasites.


KEY WORDS: Actinospore · Myxozoa · Oligochaete · Pet shop · Parasite dispersal


Full text in pdf format