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Int J Parasitol. 2010 Oct;40(12):1433-46. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2010.04.017. Epub 2010 Jun 15.

Myospora metanephrops (n. g., n. sp.) from marine lobsters and a proposal for erection of a new order and family (Crustaceacida; Myosporidae) in the Class Marinosporidia (Phylum Microsporidia).

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European Community Reference Laboratory for Crustacean Diseases, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), Weymouth Laboratory, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8UB, United Kingdom.


In this study we describe, the first microsporidian parasite from nephropid lobsters. Metanephrops challengeri were captured from an important marine fishery situated off the south coast of New Zealand. Infected lobsters displayed an unusual external appearance and were lethargic. Histology was used to demonstrate replacement of skeletal and other muscles by merogonic and sporogonic stages of the parasite, while transmission electron microscopy revealed the presence of diplokaryotic meronts, sporonts, sporoblasts and spore stages, all in direct contact with the host sarcoplasm. Analysis of the ssrDNA gene sequence from the lobster microsporidian suggested a close affinity with Thelohania butleri, a morphologically dissimilar microsporidian from marine shrimps. Whilst morphological features of the lobster parasite are consistent with members of the family Nosematidae, molecular data place the parasite closer to members of the family Thelohanidae. Due to the contradiction between morphological and molecular taxonomic data, we propose the erection of a new genus in which the lobster parasite is the type species (Myospora metanephrops). Furthermore, we recommend the erection of a new family (Myosporidae) and a new order (Crustaceacida) to contain this genus. The taxonomic framework presented could be further applied to the re-classification of existing members of the Phylum Microsporidia.

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