Ultrastructure of Buddenbrockia identifies it as a myxozoan and verifies the bilaterian origin of the Myxozoa

B.  OKAMURA  a1 c1 , A.  CURRY  a2 , T. S.  WOOD  a3 and E. U.  CANNING  a4
a1 School of Animal and Microbial Sciences, University of Reading, Whiteknights, P.O. Box 228, Reading RG6 6AJ, UK
a2 Public Health Laboratory, Withington Hospital, Manchester M20 2LR, UK
a3 Department of Biological Sciences, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio 45435-0001, USA
a4 Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London SW7 2AZ, UK

Article author query
okamura b   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
curry a   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
wood t   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
canning e   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


The phylogenetic affinities of Buddenbrockia, a nematode-like parasite of freshwater bryozoans, have remained unknown since it was first reported in the nineteenth century. The discovery of Buddenbrockia parasitic in Hyalinella punctata in Ohio and Plumatella repens in France has provided material for the first ultrastructural study of this animal. This has revealed the presence of polar capsules, diagnostic myxozoan features, in the body wall. Other features, which place Buddenbrockia firmly among tetracapsulid myxozoans in the Class Malacosporea, are the unusual morphology of the polar capsules, the absence of the external tube in capsulogenesis, the body wall with its unusual cell junctions and utilization of freshwater bryozoans as hosts. The ultrastructural study has established the triploblastic organization of Buddenbrockia by confirmation of the presence of an inner layer of cells and 4 sets of longitudinal muscles. Our studies have, thus, simultaneously revealed that Buddenbrockia is a myxozoan and that the myxozoans are derived from bilaterians. The latter conclusion resolves the ongoing controversy over the triploblastic versus diploblastic nature of the Myxozoa. Our studies also provide evidence that bryozoans are ancestral hosts for the myxozoans and that loss of triploblast features has characterized the major radiation of the better known endoparasites of fish and worms in the Class Myxosporea.

(Received July 30 2001)
(Revised September 25 2001)
(Accepted September 26 2001)

Key Words: Buddenbrockia; Bryozoa; Myxozoa; polar capsules; triploblastic; Bilateria.

c1 Corresponding author: School of Animal and Microbial Sciences, University of Reading, Whiteknights, P.O. Box 228 Reading RG6 6AJ, UK. Tel: +0118 987 5123. Fax: +0118 931 0180. E-mail: