It is now recognized that the morphospecies Anisakis simplex is not a single species but a complex composed of three sibling species, A. simplex sensu stricto, A. pegreffii and A. simplex C. In Japan, A. simplex-like larvae have been isolated from a variety of fish and humans, but the larvae collected have been identified as A. simplex by only light microscopy. Therefore, the epidemiology of the A. simplex complex, composed of three sibling species, is still unclear in Japan. In the present study, 26 A. simplex-like larval isolates were obtained from two Pacific cod landed in Hokkaido, Japan, and examined genetically by PCR–RFLP and direct sequencing of the ITS region of rDNA. Among the 26 isolates, 24 were identified as A. simplex sensu stricto, the other two as A. pegreffii. The present study is the first to confirm the distribution of A. pegreffii in Japan, and to detect A. pegreffii larvae in Pacific cod.
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