Exotic myxozoan parasites establish complex life cycles in farm pond aquaculture

Barbara Salti, Stephen D. Atkinson, Vera Brekhman, Margarita Smirnov, Tamar Lotan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Myxozoans are obligate parasites with complex life cycles, typically infecting fish and annelids. Here, we examined annelids from fish farm pond sediments in the Beit Shean Valley, in the Syrian-African Rift Valley, Israel, for myxozoan infections. We examined 1486 oligochaetes, and found 74 (5 %) were infected with actinospore stages. We used mitochondrial 16S sequencing to infer identity of 25 infected annelids as species of Potamothrix, Psammoryctides, Tubifex and Dero. We identified 7 myxozoan types from collective groups Neoactinomyxum and Sphaeractinomyxon, and characterized them by small subunit ribosomal DNA sequencing. The Neoactinomyxum type was genetically most similar (∼93 %) to cyprinid fish-infecting Myxobolus spp. The six Sphaeractinomyxon types were genetically similar (93–100 %) to Mugilid-infecting Myxobolus spp.; with one being the previously unknown actinospore stage of a myxospore that infects mullet from aquaculture from the Israeli coast of the Mediterranean Sea. As the farm pond system is artificial and geographically isolated from the Mediterranean, the presence of at least seven myxozoans in their annelid hosts demonstrates introduction and establishment of these parasites in a novel, brackish environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108105
JournalJournal of Invertebrate Pathology
StatePublished - Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier Inc.


  • Actinospore
  • Annelids
  • Introduced species
  • Myxosporean
  • Neoactinomyxum
  • Sphaeractinomyxon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Exotic myxozoan parasites establish complex life cycles in farm pond aquaculture'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this