Can myxosporean parasites compromise fish and amphibian reproduction?
ABSTRACT Research into fish and amphibian reproduction has increased exponentially in recent years owing to the expansion of the aquaculture industry, the need to recover fishery populations, the impact of endocrine disruptors on the aquatic environment and the global decline of amphibian populations. This review focuses on a group of parasites, the Myxozoa, that affect fish and amphibian reproduction. Lists of the myxosporeans that specifically infect gonads are provided. Most of these are parasitic of freshwater hosts, and most amphibian cases are reported from testes. Sex specificity and sex reversal are discussed in relation to gonadal parasitism. The immune response of the fish to the infection is described, and the contribution of the immunoprivilege of gonads to host invasion is emphasized. The pathological effect of these parasites can be significant, especially in aquacultured broodstocks, on some occasions, leading to parasitic castration. Although myxosporean parasites are currently not very frequent in gonads, their impact could increase in the future owing to the transactions in the global market. Their easy release into the aquatic environment with spawning could make their spreading even more feasible. In the absence of commercial drugs or vaccines to treat and prevent these infections, there is an urgent need to develop specific, rapid and reliable diagnostic tools to control and manage animal movements. In addition, much effort is still to be made on deciphering the life cycle of these organisms, their invasion strategies and their immune evasion mechanisms.
Article: Museum material reveals a frog parasite emergence after the invasion of the cane toad in Australia.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: A parasite morphologically indistinguishable from Myxidium immersum (Myxozoa: Myxosporea) found in gallbladders of the invasive cane toad (Bufo marinus) was identified in Australian frogs. Because no written record exists for such a parasite in Australian endemic frogs in 19th and early 20th century, it was assumed that the cane toad introduced this parasite. While we cannot go back in time ourselves, we investigated whether material at the museum of natural history could be used to retrieve parasites, and whether they were infected at the time of their collection (specifically prior to and after the cane toad translocation to Australia in 1935). Using the herpetological collection at the Australian Museum we showed that no myxospores were found in any animals (n = 115) prior to the cane toad invasion (1879-1935). The green and golden bell frog (Litoria aurea), the Peron's tree frog (Litoria peronii), the green tree frog (Litoria caerulea) and the striped marsh frog (Limnodynastes peronii) were all negative for the presence of the parasite using microscopy of the gallbladder content and its histology. These results were sufficient to conclude that the population was free from this disease (at the expected minimum prevalence of 5%) at 99.7% confidence level using the 115 voucher specimens in the Australian Museum. Similarly, museum specimens (n = 29) of the green and golden bell frog from New Caledonia, where it was introduced in 19th century, did not show the presence of myxospores. The earliest specimen positive for myxospores in a gallbladder was a green tree frog from 1966. Myxospores were found in eight (7.1%, n = 112) frogs in the post cane toad introduction period. Australian wildlife is increasingly under threat, and amphibian decline is one of the most dramatic examples. The museum material proved essential to directly support the evidence of parasite emergence in Australian native frogs. This parasite can be considered one of the luckiest parasites, because it has found an empty niche in Australia. It now flourishes in > 20 endemic and exotic frog species, but its consequences are yet to be fully understood.Parasites & Vectors 01/2010; 3(1):50. · 2.94 Impact Factor
Article: A suspected parasite spill-back of two novel Myxidium spp. (Myxosporea) causing disease in Australian endemic frogs found in the invasive Cane toad.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Infectious diseases are contributing to the decline of endangered amphibians. We identified myxosporean parasites, Myxidium spp. (Myxosporea: Myxozoa), in the brain and liver of declining native frogs, the Green and Golden Bell frog (Litoria aurea) and the Southern Bell frog (Litoria raniformis). We unequivocally identified two Myxidium spp. (both generalist) affecting Australian native frogs and the invasive Cane toad (Bufo marinus, syn. Rhinella marina) and demonstrated their association with disease. Our study tested the identity of Myxidium spp. within native frogs and the invasive Cane toad (brought to Australia in 1935, via Hawaii) to resolve the question whether the Cane toad introduced them to Australia. We showed that the Australian brain and liver Myxidium spp. differed 9%, 7%, 34% and 37% at the small subunit rDNA, large subunit rDNA, internal transcribed spacers 1 and 2, but were distinct from Myxidium cf. immersum from Cane toads in Brazil. Plotting minimum within-group distance against maximum intra-group distance confirmed their independent evolutionary trajectory. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that the brain stages localize inside axons. Myxospores were morphologically indistinguishable, therefore genetic characterisation was necessary to recognise these cryptic species. It is unlikely that the Cane toad brought the myxosporean parasites to Australia, because the parasites were not found in 261 Hawaiian Cane toads. Instead, these data support the enemy-release hypothesis predicting that not all parasites are translocated with their hosts and suggest that the Cane toad may have played an important spill-back role in their emergence and facilitated their dissemination. This work emphasizes the importance of accurate species identification of pathogens relevant to wildlife management and disease control. In our case it is paving the road for the spill-back role of the Cane toad and the parasite emergence.PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(4):e18871. · 4.09 Impact Factor