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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 105:243-252 (2013)  -  DOI:

Haplosporidium littoralis sp. nov.: a crustacean pathogen within the Haplosporida (Cercozoa, Ascetosporea)

G. D. Stentiford1,*, K. S. Bateman1, N. A. Stokes2, R. B. Carnegie

1European Union Reference Laboratory for Crustacean Diseases, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), Weymouth laboratory, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8UB, UK
2Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary, PO Box 1346, Gloucester Point, Virginia 23062, USA

ABSTRACT: Previously, we described the pathology and ultrastructure of an apparently asporous haplosporidian-like parasite infecting the common shore crab Carcinus maenas from the European shoreline. In the current study, extraction of genomic DNA from the haemolymph, gill or hepatopancreas of infected C. maenas was carried out and the small subunit ribosomal DNA (SSU rDNA) of the pathogen was amplified by PCR before cloning and sequencing. All 4 crabs yielded an identical 1736 bp parasite sequence. BLAST analysis against the NCBI GenBank database identified the sequence as most similar to the protistan pathogen group comprising the order Haplosporida within the class Ascetosporea of the phylum Cercozoa Cavalier-Smith, 1998. Parsimony analysis placed the crab pathogen within the genus Haplosporidium, sister to the molluscan parasites H. montforti, H. pickfordi and H. lusitanicum. The parasite infecting C. maenas is hereby named as Haplosporidium littoralis sp. nov. The presence of a haplosporidian parasite infecting decapod crustaceans from the European shoreline with close phylogenetic affinity to previously described haplosporidians infecting molluscs is intriguing. The study provides important phylogenetic data for this relatively understudied, but commercially significant, pathogen group.

KEY WORDS: Haplosporidia · Crab · Carcinus maenas · Disease · Littoral zone

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Cite this article as: Stentiford GD, Bateman KS, Stokes NA, Carnegie RB (2013) Haplosporidium littoralis sp. nov.: a crustacean pathogen within the Haplosporida (Cercozoa, Ascetosporea). Dis Aquat Org 105:243-252.

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