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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI:

    Kudoa hypoepicardialis (Myxosporea: Multivalvida: Kudoidae) and associated cardiac lesions in lionfish Pterois volitans in Grenada, West Indies

    Ethan T. Woodyard, Arielle E. Bierman, Jonnel J. Edwards, J. Christine Finney, Thomas G. Rosser, Matt J. Griffin, David P. Marancik*

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Invasive lionfish Pterios volitans (L., 1758) represent an ongoing ecologic threat within temperate and tropical waters. There is relatively little known regarding the overall health of and potential for spreading pathogens by P. volitans in non-native regions. Lionfish collected from inshore reefs of Grenada, West Indies in 2019 and 2021 were identified as Pterois volitans based on cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 barcoding. Gross and microscopic examination of tissues revealed myxozoan plasmodia in the hearts of 24/76 (31.6%) lionfish by histopathology or wet mount cytology. Further histopathologic examination revealed severe granulomatous inflammation and myofiber necrosis associated with developing plasmodia and presporogonic lifestages. Fresh myxospores were morphologically and molecularly consistent with Kudoa hypoepicardialis, being quadrate in apical view with 4 valves and 4 equal polar capsules. The spore body was 5.1–7.9 µm (6.0) long, 8.1–9.8 µm (8.7) wide, and 6.9–8.5 µm (7.7) thick. Polar capsules were 2.3–2.7 µm (2.5) long and 0.9–1.6 µm (1.3) wide. 18S small subunit rDNA (SSU) sequences were 99.81–99.87% similar to sequence data from the original. Novel 28S large subunit rDNA (LSU) and elongation factor 2 (EF2) data, which did not match any previously reported species, were provided. This is the first account of a myxozoan parasite of P. volitans, a new host record and locality for K. hypoepicardialis, and one of few reports describing pathogen-associated lesions in invasive lionfish.