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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 145:63-77 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03596

First description of freshwater mite Unionicola sauerensis sp. nov. infesting thick-shelled river mussel Unio crassus

Eva Lewisch1,*, Farah Arnold1, Hans-Peter Fuehrer2, Josef Harl3, Ursula Reichart4, Stephan Handschuh4, Frankie Thielen5, Mansour El-Matbouli1

1Clinical Division of Fish Medicine, University of Veterinary Medicine, 1210 Vienna, Austria
2Institute of Parasitology, University of Veterinary Medicine, 1210 Vienna, Austria
3Institute of Pathology, University of Veterinary Medicine, 1210 Vienna, Austria
4VetCORE Facility for Research, University of Veterinary Medicine, 1210 Vienna, Austria
5natur & ëmwelt/Fondation Hëllef fir d’Natur, Kierchestrooss 2, 9753 Heinerscheid, Luxembourg
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: A sample of 30 thick-shelled river mussels Unio crassus Philipsson (Unionida: Unionidae) was collected from the River Sauer in Luxembourg to acquire data on parasitic infestations of the mussels. Among other parasites, different development stages of freshwater mites were collected from the gills and the mantle of the mussels and were documented with bright-field, stereo, and confocal laser scanning microscopy and microscopic X-ray computed tomography. The retrieved data allowed a morphological description of larvae and female adults of the mites and assigning them to the genus Unionicola Haldeman (Trombidiformes: Unionicolidae) and the subgenus Pentatax Thor. Additionally, adult stages and larvae were barcoded by sequencing a section of the mitochondrial COI and 18S rRNA genes. This resulted in 4 new, similar Unionicola lineages from the adult stages, which differ in at least 14.7% (uncorrected p distance) from those already published. Barcoding of larval DNA was not successful. The comparison with known European species of the genus Unionicola and analysis of the barcoding results allowed the proposal of a new species of the genus Unionicola. The species was named Unionicola sauerensis sp. nov. after the River Sauer in Luxembourg, where the infested mussels were collected.


KEY WORDS: Unionicola · Freshwater mite · Morphology · Barcoding · Unio crassus · Thickshelled river mussel


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Cite this article as: Lewisch E, Arnold F, Fuehrer HP, Harl J and others (2021) First description of freshwater mite Unionicola sauerensis sp. nov. infesting thick-shelled river mussel Unio crassus. Dis Aquat Org 145:63-77. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03596

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