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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03406

    Characterisation of microsporidian Ameson herrnkindi sp. nov. infecting Caribbean spiny lobsters Panulirus argus

    H. J. Small*, G. D. Stentiford, D. C. Behringer, M. A. Freeman, N. A. M. Atherley, K. S. Reece, K. S. Bateman, J. D. Shields

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: The Caribbean spiny lobster, Panulirus argus, supports a large and valuable fishery in the Caribbean Sea. In 2007-08, a rare microsporidian parasite with spore characteristics typical of the Ameson genus was detected in two spiny lobsters from southeast Florida (FL). However, the parasite species was not confirmed by molecular analyses. To address this deficiency, reported here are structural and molecular data on single lobsters displaying comparable ‘cotton-like’ abdominal muscle containing ovoid microsporidian spores found at different locations in Florida in 2014 and 2018 and in Saint Kitts and Nevis Islands in 2017. In the lobster from 2014, multiple life stages consistent with an Ameson-like monokaryotic microsporidian were detected by transmission electron microscopy. A partial (1228 bp) SSU rRNA gene sequence showed each microsporidia to be identical and positioned it closest phylogenetically to Ameson pulvis in a highly supported clade also containing A. michaelis, A. metacarcini, A. portunus and Nadelspora canceri. Using ecological, pathological, ultrastructural and molecular data the P. argus microsporidian has been assigned to a distinct species, Ameson herrnkindi.