Gilt-head sea bream, Sparus aurata L., the Mediterranean's most important mariculture species, has been cultured for the last 30 yr in Eilat (Israeli Red Sea). Kudoa sp. was the first myxosporean parasite reported from this species. In recent years, an increase in prevalence in both land-based and sea-cage facilities in Eilat has been observed. Infections with the same Kudoa species appeared in cultured European sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax (L.) and grey mullet Mugil cephalus in the same farms, as well as in 10 species of wild Red Sea reef fish, indicating that Kudoa sp. is not fastidious with regard to its host. All affected species displayed 1- to 2-mm (up to 5 mm) whitish, spherical, or oval polysporous plasmodia. The parasite established multiple site infections, most commonly in the muscles and intracranial adipose tissue of the brain and eye periphery. Other sites were subcutaneous adipose tissue, nerve axons, mouth, eye, mesenteries, peritoneum, swim bladder, intestinal musculature, heart, pericardium, kidney, and ovary. On the basis of spore morphology, the parasite was identified as Kudoa iwatai Egusa and Shiomitsu, 1983. Ultrastructural features were comparable to those of previously studied Kudoa species. The 18S rDNA from 7 Red Sea isolates was sequenced and compared with the sequence of the same gene from K. iwatai isolated from cultured red sea bream. Pagrus major, in Japan. The phylogenetic position of K. iwatai within the genus was determined using sequence analysis of all related taxa available in GenBank. The 3 isolates of K. iwatai clustered together on a newly formed, highly supported clade. The Red Sea strain of K. iwatai is apparently native to the region. In the absence of records of this Kudoa sp. from the extensive Mediterranean sea bream and sea bass production industries, introduction with its Mediterranean hosts seems unlikely. Therefore, we conclude that K. iwatai is an Indo-Pacific species that, in the Red Sea, has extended its host range to include the allochthonous gilt-head sea bream. European sea bass, and grey mullet.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics