RESULTS: The morphologies of the myxospores from Icelandic eels were very similar but the overall dimensions were significantly different from the various tissue locations. Myxospores from the kidney of the Malaysian tarpon, Megalops cyprinoides (Broussonet), were noticeably smaller. However, the SSU rDNA sequences from the different tissues locations in eels, were all very distinct, with percentage similarities ranging from 92.93% to as low as 89.8%, with the sequence from Malaysia being even more dissimilar. Molecular phylogenies consistently placed these sequences together in a clade that we refer to as the Paramyxidium clade that is strongly associated with the Myxidium clade (sensu stricto). We erect the genus Paramyxidium n. g. (Myxidiidae) to accommodate these histozoic taxa, and transfer Myxidium giardi as Paramyxidium giardi Cépède, 1906 n. comb. as the type-species.
CONCLUSIONS: There is not a single species of Myxidium (M. giardi) causing systemic infections in eels in Iceland. There are three species, confirmed with a robust phylogeny, one of which represents Paramyxidium giardi n. comb. Additional species probably exist that infect different tissues in the eel and the site of infection in the host fish is an important diagnostic feature for this group (Paramyxidium n. g. clade). Myxospore morphology is generally conserved in the Paramyxidium clade, although actual spore dimensions can vary between some species. Paramyxidium spp. are currently only known to infect fishes from the Elopomorpha.