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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 75:73-78 (2007)  -  doi:10.3354/dao075073

Enterospora sp., an intranuclear microsporidian infection of hermit crab Eupagurus bernhardus

G. D. Stentiford*, K. S. Bateman

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), Barrack Road, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8UB, UK

ABSTRACT: Recent work at our laboratory has led to the discovery of a new genus of microsporidian parasite residing in the family Enterocytozoonidae. The type species of this new genus, Enterospora canceri, is an intranuclear parasite infecting the hepatopancreatocytes of the decapod crustacean Cancer pagurus. Here we provide the second description of a parasite within the genus Enterospora, this time infecting the hermit crab Eupagurus bernhardus from UK waters. The pathological manifestation and ultrastructural features of the hermit crab parasite are very similar to those described for E. canceri. Further taxonomic comparisons based upon ultrastructural and molecular affinities of Enterospora are now required to define firmer links between this new genus within the Enterocytozoonidae and all other microsporidian families. The opportunistic nature of the discovery of a second intranuclear microsporidian within the Crustacea suggests that their presence may be more common than in higher animal groups.

KEY WORDS: Eupagurus bernhardus · Enterocytozoon · Enterocytozoonidae · Enterospora · Epithelium · Hermit crab · Hepatopancreas · Nucleospora · Intranuclear · Nucleus · Crustacea

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