A NEW GNATHIID (CRUSTACEA: ISOPODA) PARASITIZING TWO SPECIES OF REQUIEM SHARKS FROM LIZARD ISLAND, GREAT BARRIER REEF, AUSTRALIA

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Abstract

Third-stage juveniles (praniza 3) of Gnathia grandilaris n. sp. were collected from the gill filaments and septa of 5 requiem sharks, including a white tip reef shark, Triaenodon obesus, and 4 grey reef sharks, Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos, at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia, in March 2002. Some juvenile gnathiids were then maintained in fresh sea water until they molted to adults. Adult males appeared 19 days following detachment of juveniles from host fishes, but no juveniles molted successfully into females. The current description is based, therefore, on bright field and scanning electron microscopy observations of adult males and third-stage juveniles. Unique features of the male include the triangular-shaped inferior mediofrontal process, 2 areolae on the dorsal surface of the pylopod, and a slender pleotelson (twice as long as wide) with lateral concavities. The third-stage juvenile has distinctive white pigmentation on the black pereon when alive, while the mandible has 9 triangular backwardly directed teeth. This species has the largest male and third-stage juvenile of any Gnathia spp. from Australia and of any gnathiid isopods associated with elasmobranchs.

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