Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK

Haemogregarines and other blood infections from deep demersal fish of the Porcupine Seabight, north-east Atlantic

A.J.  Davies a1c1 and N.R.  Merrett a2p1
a1 School of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science, Kingston University, Kingston, Surrey, KT1 2EE, UK
a2 Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, UK


Giemsa-stained blood smears were examined from 70 deep demersal fish of 27 species in 20 genera, trawled from depths of 747–4143 m in the region of the Porcupine Seabight, north-east Atlantic. Infections were found in four species of teleosts in three families: 1/3 Alepocephalus rostratus and 1/3 Narcetes stomias (Alepocephalidae); 2/3 Antimora rostrata (Moridae); and 1/1 Cataetyx laticeps (Bythitidae). Blood films from C. laticeps and Antimora rostrata were well preserved but those from the other two species were less satisfactory. The blood parasites included two types of haemogregarines, Haemohormidium-like and viral erythrocytic necrosis (VEN)-like infections. Haemogregarina (sensu lato) johnstoni sp. nov. was described from C. laticeps captured at 1541 m. This haemogregarine was unusual in apparently having dimorphic gamonts, some with prominent caps. A second, but monomorphic, haemogregarine found in Alepocephalus rostratus captured from 985 m, was named as Desseria sp. since only extracellular stages were observed. Haemohormidium-like organisms were found in Antimora rostrata taken from 2441 m, and were similar to those described previously from this deep-sea fish. A VEN-like infection from one N. stomias captured from 2567 m was reported. No marked effects on host cells were evident in any of these blood infections.

(Received July 13 2000)
(Accepted October 9 2000)

c1 e-mail:
p1 Muttlebury's Mead, Chard Street, Thorncombe, Chard, TA20 4NB, UK