We investigated the host selection mechanism of actinospore stages of 2 myxosporeans, Myxobolus arcticus and Thelohanellus hovorkai, infecting masu salmon (Oncorhynchus masou) and common carp (Cyprinus carpio), respectively. Discharge of the polar filaments and sporoplasm release by M. arcticus actinospores occurred within the first 5 min of exposure to skin mucus of masu salmon. The actinospores also reacted to the mucus of nonsusceptible fish, i.e., sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) and goldfish (Carassius auratus), although the reactivity was comparatively lower. After exposure of masu, and sockeye and chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) to M. arcticus actinospores, the penetration of sporoplasms was observed in the fins and gills of masu and sockeye salmon to a similar extent and to a lesser extent in chum salmon. Thelohanellus hovorkai actinospores exhibited a slow response of sporoplasm release to common carp mucus as well as penetration into the gills of common carp. Neither chemoresponse to mucus of nonsusceptible fish (goldfish and sockeye salmon) nor sporoplasm invasion in goldfish was observed for T. hovorkai actinospores. These results indicate notable differences in the host selection at the time of entry between M. arcticus and T. hovorkai; the former responds quickly to fish mucus with low host specificity, whereas the latter was highly host specific in a dilatory reaction.

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