Abstract

Specimens of Transversotrema patialense (sensu lato) (Soparkar, 1924) Crusz and Sathananthan, 1960 (Digenea: Transversotrematidae) infected the skin (epidermal spaces beneath scales near pectoral fins) of 4 of 126 (prevalence 3%; mean intensity 1.8) zebrafish (Danio rerio (Hamilton, 1822) [Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae]) purchased in 2009 and cultured by a California (USA) fish supplier. These fish were sold as “laboratory-reared” and “specific pathogen free,” purportedly raised in a recirculating aquaculture system that included zebrafish only. We herein describe the morphological features of this transversotrematid using light and scanning electron microscopy, provide a comprehensive list of hosts (snails and fishes) and geographic locality records for specimens reported as T. patialense, which is perhaps a species complex, and provide a brief historical synopsis of the taxonomic and life history research that has been conducted on this fluke. No species of Transversotrema previously had been reported from the Americas; however, this discovery is not surprising given that: (1) a suitable intermediate host (red-rimmed melania, Melanoides tuberculata (Müller, 1774) [Cerithioidea: Thiaridae]) has been established in California and elsewhere in North America, (2) the zebrafish is a susceptible definitive host, and (3) T. patialense reportedly matures on a broad ecological and phylogenetic spectrum of freshwater fishes. To our knowledge, this is the northern-most geographic locality record for a species of this genus. We suspect this case study represents an example of a parasite that may now be established in North America by the fortuitous co-occurrence of a susceptible, exotic snail host (the red-rimmed melania) and a susceptible, widely distributed, exotic fish host (the zebrafish).

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