DAO 73:159-169 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/dao073159

Sequential development of Buddenbrockia plumatellae (Myxozoa: Malacosporea) within Plumatella repens (Bryozoa: Phylactolaemata)

Charles McGurk*, David J. Morris, Alexandra Adams

Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, UK

ABSTRACT: Colonies of the freshwater bryozoan Plumatella repens collected from a river in the UK were found to be infected with the myxozoan parasite Buddenbrockia plumatellae following laboratory maintenance. Optimisation of the bryozoan diet allowed maintenance of infected colonies for 90 d, permitting observation by light and electron microscopy of the sequential parasitic developmental cycle. Parasite stages were associated with host peritoneum, identifying the primary developmental phase. The association of B. plumatellae cells with peritoneal basal lamina and morphological similarities between parasite and host suggested that the parasite remodelled host tissue. Progressive expansion and elongation of individual parasites led to the release of freely floating vermiform stages within the host coelomic cavities. Within these ‘worms’, intraluminal masses developed, resulting in the formation of spores. Upon maturation, the ‘worms’ ruptured, releasing many spores within the host that were subsequently discharged. Although parasitism led to increased bryozoan fragmentation and lowered statoblast production, some colonies did survive, resulting in repeated waves of infection. Long-term laboratory maintenance of infected bryozoan colonies could provide a means of maintaining B. plumatellae for study until the full life cycle is ascertained.

KEY WORDS: Myxozoa · Malacosporea · Bryozoa · Buddenbrockia plumatellae · Development · Remodel

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