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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 91:137-150 (2010)  -  DOI:

Dasyatispora levantinae gen. et sp. nov., a new microsporidian parasite from the common stingray Dasyatis pastinaca in the eastern Mediterranean

Ariel Diamant1,*, Menachem Goren2, M. Baki Yokeş3, Bella S. Galil4, Yaelle Klopman2, Dorothée Huchon2, Amir Szitenberg2, S. Ünsal Karhan5

1National Center for Mariculture, Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, P.O.B. 1212, Eilat 88112, Israel
2Department of Zoology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel
3Haliç University, Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics, Okmeydani, 34384 Istanbul, Turkey
4National Institute of Oceanography, Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research P.O.B. 8030, Haifa 31080, Israel
5Division of Hydrobiology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Istanbul University, 34134 Vezneciler, Istanbul, Turkey

ABSTRACT: A new microsporidian infecting the Mediterranean common stingray Dasyatis pastinaca (Linnaeus, 1758) is described from Iskenderun Bay, Turkey. The parasite invades the disc muscles, producing slender, spindle-shaped subcutaneous swellings that develop into massive, elongated, tumor-like protuberances measuring up to 11 × 4 cm. Severity of the infection may vary from light (1 or 2 small lesions) to intense, with large parts of the dorsal surface covered with lumps and protrusions. These masses contained a yellowish-white caseous substance consisting of degraded host tissue and microsporidian sporophorous vesicles, which in turn contained developing sporonts, sporoblasts and spores. The ripe spore contained a uni-nucleate sporoplasm and large posterior vacuole, and measured 3.8–4.3 × 2.6–2.8 µm. Infection prevalence was 21% in a sample of 143 host individuals examined. All the infected stingray individuals were within the weight class of 300 to 800 g (200 to 305 mm disc width). Phylogenetic analyses of rDNA sequences indicate that this microsporidian belongs to the Pleistophoridae and clusters with species of the genera Ovipleistophora Pekkarinen, Lom & Nilsen, 2002 and Heterosporis Schubert, 1969. However, the morphology, development and host differ distinctly from all reported species, including those belonging to these 2 genera, and it is thus assigned to a newly erected genus and named Dasyatispora levantinae gen. et sp. nov. This is the first record of a microsporidian infection in a batoid. It is also the first microsporidian species to be formally described from an elasmobranch.

KEY WORDS: Stingray · Microsporidian · Subcutaneous swellings · Tumor-like bulges · Pathology · Eastern Mediterranean · Dasyatis pastinaca · Dasyatispora levantinae gen. et sp. nov.

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Cite this article as: Diamant A, Goren M, Yokeş MB, Galil BS and others (2010) Dasyatispora levantinae gen. et sp. nov., a new microsporidian parasite from the common stingray Dasyatis pastinaca in the eastern Mediterranean. Dis Aquat Org 91:137-150.

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