Traditional studies on myxosporeans have used myxospore morphology as the main criterion for identification and taxonomic classification, and it remains important as the fundamental diagnostic feature used to confirm myxosporean infections in fish and other vertebrate taxa. However, its use as the primary feature in systematics has led to numerous genera becoming polyphyletic in subsequent molecular phylogenetic analyses. It is now known that other features, such as the site and type of infection, can offer a higher degree of congruence with molecular data, albeit with its own inconsistencies, than basic myxospore morphology can reliably provide.
The recovery of six adult Gnathostoma spinigerum Owen, 1936 from a civet cat, Prionodon linsang Hardwick, constitutes the second reported record of this parasite and the first authenticated case of adult worms found in a wild animal from Malaysia. The food habits of the infected P. linsang as an important link in the transmission of G. spinigerum in the intermediate and definitive hosts together with the probable distribution of this parasite are discussed.
Lesions associated with two species of tapeworms within the digestive tract of wild-caught specimens of the bull shark, Carcharhinus leucas, and the sicklefin weasel shark, Hemigaleus microstoma, from Malaysian Borneo are described. Portions of the glandular stomach and pyloric gut with parasites were removed and fixed in 10% formalin buffered in sea water. Whole mounts, histological sections of tissues with and without worms in situ, and scanning electron microscopy images of detached worms were examined. Both species of cestodes belonged to the trypanorhynch family Tentaculariidae. Heteronybelinia estigmena was found in large numbers parasitizing the pyloric gut of C. leucas; an unidentified tentaculariid was found in relatively small numbers in both the glandular stomach and pyloric gut of H. microstoma. Both species burrowed their scoleces deeply in the mucosa and attached via hooked tentacles and unciniform microtriches of the scolex. The lesions induced by the parasites were marked in both sharks and ranged from acute necrotizing to chronic granulomatous gastroenteritis. Regenerative hyperplasia and intestinal metaplasia of gastric epithelium were also present. The severity and character of pathology was causally linked to the intensity of infection, the attachment mode of the parasites, and to the anatomophysiological relationships within the gut of the host shark.
Cryptosporidium fragile sp. n. (Apicomplexa) is described from black-spined toads, Duttaphrynus melanostictus (Schneider) (Amphibia, Anura, Bufonidae) from the Malay Peninsula. The parasitized animals were directly imported from Malaysia and harboured C. fragile at the time of arrival. Oocysts were subspherical to elliptical with irregular contour in optical section, measuring 6.2 (5.5-7.0) x 5.5 (5.0-6.5) microm. Oocyst wall was smooth and colourless in light microscopy. The endogenous development of C. fragile in the stomach of black-spined toad was analysed in detail using light and electron microscopy. Cryptosporidian developmental stages were confined to the surface of gastric epithelial cells. In transmission experiments, C. fragile has not been infective for one fish species, four amphibian species, one species of reptile and SCID mice. Full length small subunit rRNA gene sequence was obtained. Phylogenetic reconstruction revealed distinct status of C. fragile within the clade of species with gastric localisation including Cryptosporidium muris Tyzzer, 1907, Cryptosporidium serpentis Levine, 1980 and Cryptosporidium andersoni Lindsay, Upton, Owens, Morgan, Mead et Blagburn, 2000. Described characteristics differentiate C. fragile from the currently recognized Cryptosporidium species. Our experience with the description of C. fragile has led us to revise the recommended criteria for an introduction of a new Cryptosporidium species name. C. fragile is the first species described and named from an amphibian host. Its prevalence of 83% (15/18) in black-spined toads within the 3 months after importation calls for strict quarantine measures and import regulation for lower vertebrates.