The tropical conch, Laevistrombus canarium (Linnaeus, 1758) and Canarium urceus (Linneaus, 1758) are ecologically and economically important shellfish species in Malaysia and neighboring region. Their populations, however are currently declining and this histopathological study investigates the aspect of parasitism and diseases that may affect their well-being. Conch samples were randomly collected from their natural habitat and histological sections (4-5 µm) of various organs and tissues were examined under light microscope. This was followed by ultrastructure analysis on infected tissues using transmission electron microscope (TEM). Based on the histological analysis, large numbers of gamonts, sporocysts and trophozoites of Apicomplexa-like parasites were observed in the vacuolated cells and pyramidal crypt cells of the digestive tubules, and in the digestive ducts. Furthermore, coccidian and oocysts-like Pseudoklossia sp. stages were also observed in the cells of the kidney. Apart from that, spores with cyst-like structure were observed in the digestive gland and kidney. Although the parasites were present in most of the organs analyzed, there was no obvious symptom, inflammatory response or mortality incurred on both species, which implies the possibility of a non-virulent relationship like commensalisms or mutualism. However, more investigations, including molecular studies, are needed to confirm the parasite identification and dynamics, and to further evaluate the nature of relationship between Apicomplexa parasites and their host.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.