MORPHOLOGY, MOLECULAR DATA, AND DEVELOPMENT OFZSCHOKKELLA MUGILIS(MYXOSPOREA, BIVALVULIDA) IN A POLYCHAETE ALTERNATE HOST,NEREIS DIVERSICOLOR

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Abstract

The morphology of Zschokkella mugilis Sitjà-Bobadilla and Alvarez-Pellitero, 1993 (Myxosporea, Bivalvulida) in Nereis diversicolor O. F. Müller, 1776 is described for the first time. The molecular data show that the actinospore has 100% similarity to the myxospore of Z. mugilis. Fully mature actinospores are tri-radiate, the spore body has a small process, and the sporoplasm has 2 inner daughter cells. In the polychaete, the spores of the parasite develop in groups of 8 inside pansporocysts. The schizogony phase takes place in the intestinal epithelium, while gametogony and sporogony occur in the coelom of the polychaete. Observations indicate that mature spores are released only during the polychaete reproductive season. Infection was detected only in the winter and spring. In the Aveiro estuary (Portugal), the overall prevalence of infection of the polychaete was 0.5%.

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