DAO prepress abstract  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03389

New actinosporean description prompts union of the raabeia and echinactinomyxon collective groups (Cnidaria, Myxozoa)

Sónia Rocha*, Ângela Alves, Pedro Fernandes, Carlos Antunes, Carlos Azevedo, Graça Casal

*Email: sonia.oliveira.rocha@gmail.com

ABSTRACT: We describe morphologically and molecularly a new actinosporean from the intestinal epithelium of the freshwater oligochaete Ilyodrilus templetoni in the upper estuary of the River Minho, Northern Portugal. Mature actinospores resembled both echinactinomyxon and raabeia types, emphasizing the already known lack of a clear boundary between these two collective groups. Historically, raabeia and echinactinomyxon types have been differentiated solely based on the shape of the valvular processes being curved or straight, respectively. Our observations, however, show that this morphological character is too variable for distinguishing between these two collective groups, since the actinospores of the raabeia described here displayed valvular processes that could either be straight, downward or upward curved. Several similar cases can be found in the available literature. Considering this overlap in actinospore morphology, we propose that echinactinomyxon be deemed invalid and its types be included in raabeia, as the latter constitutes the older group among the two. Known echinactinomyxon types, however, should not be renamed as raabeia, as this would create unnecessary confusion. Accordingly, a more comprehensive definition of the raabeia collective group is provided. Phylogenetic analyses reveal polyphyletic clustering of raabeia/echinactinomyxon types among members of the myxosporean suborders Variisporina and Platysporina, reiterating the lack of agreement between actinosporean morphotypes and myxosporean genera. The new type described here specifically clusters within the Paramyxidium clade, alongside other SSU rDNA sequences of raabeia, echinactinomyxon, aurantiactinomyxon and synactinomyxon. Considering that most Paramyxidium spp. parasitize Anguilla anguilla (Linnaeus, 1758), future myxozoan surveys in the River Minho should include this species.