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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI:

    Morphological and phylogenetic description of parasitic mite Unionicola sauerensis sp. nov. infesting freshwater mussel Unio crassus

    Eva Lewisch*, Farah Arnold, Hans-Peter Fuehrer, Josef Harl, Ursula Reichart, Stephan Handschuh, Frankie Thielen, Mansour El-Matbouli

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: A sample of 30 thick-shelled river mussels Unio crassus Philipsson (Unionida: Unionidae) was collected from the River Sauer in Luxembourg to acquire data on parasitic infestations of the mussels. Among other parasites, different development stages of freshwater mites were collected from the gills and the mantle of the mussels and were documented with bright-field-, stereo-, and confocal laser scanning-microscopy and microscopic X-ray computed tomography. The retrieved data allowed a morphological description of larvae and female adults of the mites and assigning them to the genus Unionicola Haldeman (Trombidiformes: Unionicolidae) and the subgenus Pentatax Thor. Additionally, adult stages and larvae were barcoded by sequencing a section of the mitochondrial COI and 18S rRNA genes. This resulted in four new, similar Unionicola lineages from the adult stages, which differ in at least 14.7% (uncorrected p-distance) from already published ones. Barcoding of larval DNA was not successful. The comparison with known European species of the genus Unionicola and analysis of the barcoding results allowed the proposal of a new species of the genus Unionicola. The species was named Unionicula sauerensis sp. nov. after the River Sauer in Luxembourg, where the infested mussels were collected.