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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 65:137-152 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/dao065137

Dissemination of triactinomyxons (Myxozoa) via oligochaetes used as live food for aquarium fishes

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, Gothenburg University, Box 463, 40530 Gothenburg, Sweden
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Freshwater ‘tubifex’ oligochaetes sold as live food for aquarium fishes were purchased from several pet shops in Munich, Germany, over a 1 yr period (March 2001 to February 2002). These samples were screened for parasitic infections of actinosporean myxozoans to gauge the possibility of parasite dispersal via this route. Of 7 samples, 6 contained infected oligochaetes; waterborne spores were present in 5 samples at the time of purchase. In the laboratory, 12 different types of actinosporeans were released by the oligochaetes. These could be assigned to 4 collective groups: triactinomyxon, aurantiactinomyxon, raabeia and hexactinomyxon; 4 novel triactinomyxons are described herein, a fifth triactinomyxon has been described earlier. Phenotypic descriptions of the spores are accompanied by molecular sequence data (18S rDNA). Descriptions of the other actinosporean types appear elsewhere. The worms sold as ‘tubifex’ originated from eastern European countries and were identified as a mix of Tubifex tubifex, Limnodrilus hoffmeisteri and L. udekemianus. Sale of live worms (and their accompanying parasite load) has clearly the potential to facilitate introduction both of parasites and suitable hosts to new areas.

KEY WORDS: Actinosporean · Myxozoa · Triactinomyxon · Oligochaete · Parasite dissemination · Pet shop

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