SCANNING ELECTRON MICROSCOPY AND MOLECULAR CHARACTERIZATION OF A NEWHAPLOSPORIDIUMSPECIES (HAPLOSPORIDIA), A PARASITE OF THE MARINE GASTROPODSIPHONARIA PECTINATA(MOLLUSCA: GASTROPODA: SIPHONARIIDAE) IN THE GULF OF MEXICO

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Abstract

Based on scanning electron microscopy and the small subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU rRNA), Haplosporidium tuxtlensis n. sp. (Haplosporidia), a parasite found in the visceral tissues of the false limpet Siphonaria pectinata (Linnaeus, 1758), is described. The spores are ellipsoidal (3.61 ± 0.15 μm × 2.69 ± 0.19 μm), with a circular lid (2.94 ± 0.5 μm) representing the operculum. The spore wall bears filaments occurring singly, or in clusters, of 2 to 8, fusing distally. Phylogenetic relationships of H. tuxtlensis n. sp. were assessed with other described species using the SSU rRNA sequence. Haplosporidium tuxtlensis n. sp. is sister taxon to Haplosporidium pickfordiBarrow, 1961. The morphological characteristics (spore wall structure, shape, size, and filament structure) and the unique host identity corroborate it as a new species. Additionally, this is the first record of Haplosporidia infecting striped false limpets in the Gulf of Mexico.

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