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Cucumispora dikerogammari n. gen. (Fungi: Microsporidia) infecting the invasive amphipod Dikerogammarus villosus: a potential emerging disease in European rivers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 September 2009

Witold Stefański Institute of Parasitology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, 00-818Warsaw, Poland Schmalhausen Institute of Zoology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 01601Kiev, Ukraine
Equipe Ecologie Evolutive, UMR CNRS 5561 Biogéosciences, Université de Bourgogne, 21000Dijon, France Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Hydrobiology, University of Lodz, 90-237Lodz, Poland
Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Ceredigion, UK
Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Ceredigion, UK
Equipe Ecologie Evolutive, UMR CNRS 5561 Biogéosciences, Université de Bourgogne, 21000Dijon, France
Equipe Ecologie Evolutive, UMR CNRS 5561 Biogéosciences, Université de Bourgogne, 21000Dijon, France
*Corresponding author: Witold Stefański Institute of Parasitology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, 51/55 Twarda Street, 00-818Warsaw, Poland. Tel: +48 22 6978995. Fax: +48 22 620 62 27. E-mail:


Dikerogammarus villosus is an invasive amphipod that recently colonized the main rivers of Central and Western Europe. Two frequent microsporidian parasites were previously detected in this species, but their taxonomic status was unclear. Here we present ultrastructural and molecular data indicating that these two parasites are in fact a single microsporidian species. This parasite shares numerous characteristics of Nosema spp. It forms elongate spores (cucumiform), developing in direct contact with host cell cytoplasm; all developmental stages are diplokaryotic and the life cycle is monomorphic with disporoblastic sporogony. Initially this parasite was described as Nosema dikerogammariOvcharenko and Kurandina 1987. However, phylogenetic analysis based on the complete sequence of SSU rDNA places the parasite outside the genus Nosema and it is therefore ascribed to a new genus Cucumispora. The key features characteristic to this genus are: presence of a very well-developed, umbrella-shape anchoring disk covering the anterior part of polaroplast; arrangement of isofilar polar filament into 6–8 coils convoluted with different angles, voluminous diplokaryon, thin spore wall and relatively small posterior vacuole containing posterosome. The parasite infects most host tissues but mainly muscles. It showed high rates of horizontal trophic transmission and lower rates of vertical transmission.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

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