Abstract

Over several years of screening diagnostic cases, the Zebrafish International Resource Center Health Services has encountered a myxozoan parasite of the ducts associated with the kidney in zebrafish, Danio rerio, from an average of 21% of facilities submitting specimens over 5 yr. The parasite is coelozoic and is associated with no appreciable histological changes. Plasmodia bear ovoid spores with 3 sutural ridges. Spores are consistent with the genus Myxidium, but they are distinct from any known species and are thus described as Myxidium streisingeri n. sp. Phylogenetically, this parasite is a member of the polyphyletic urinary bladder clade, which is consistent with the site of infection. The common occurrence of a myxozoan in this closed husbandry system is unexpected because these parasites are known to have complex life cycles, alternating between a vertebrate and invertebrate host. It may be that biofilters provide habitat for suitable invertebrate hosts or perhaps M. streisingeri n. sp. can be transmitted directly. Future control of this parasite in zebrafish research laboratories depends on a better understanding of this life cycle.

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