Research Article

First taxonomic description of multivalvulidan myxosporean parasites from elasmobranchs: Kudoa hemiscylli n.sp. and Kudoa carcharhini n.sp. (Myxosporea: Multivalvulidae)

R. J. GLEESONa1a2, M. B. BENNETTa3 and R. D. ADLARDa1a2 c1

a1 School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland 4072, Australia

a2 Biodiversity Program, Queensland Museum, PO Box 3300, South Brisbane, Queensland 4101, Australia

a3 School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland 4072, Australia


Myxosporean parasites are significant parasites of fishes not only for their apparent high diversity but also for their potential impact on fish health and/or marketability. Regardless, our knowledge of most myxosporeans, especially those found in elasmobranch hosts, is superficial. A study of multivalvulidan diversity in a range of elasmobranchs from Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory (Australia) was conducted to address this knowledge gap. Specimens were collected from a total of 3 orders, 9 families and 31 species of elasmobranchs. Myxosporean infections referable to the genus Kudoa were discovered in host muscle and characterized morphologically and genetically. Both small subunit (SSU) and large subunit (LSU) rDNA sequences were used in molecular phylogenetic analyses. Kudoa spp. infected 27 of the 31 species of elasmobranchs examined, representing new records of this parasite genus in 26, of the 27, host species. Kudoids were observed in all 3 orders, and 7 out of the 9 families of elasmobranchs investigated. This paper reports the first 2 multivalvulidan species to be formally described from elasmobranchs, Kudoa hemiscylli n.sp. characterized from Hemiscyllium ocellatum (and 8 other host species) and Kudoa carcharhini n. sp. characterized from Carcharhinus cautus (and 2 other host species). Phylogenetic analyses revealed that kudoids from elasmobranchs form a separate lineage to those of teleosts, but are anchored within the overall kudoid clade.

(Received January 20 2010)

(Revised March 05 2010)

(Revised April 14 2010)

(Accepted April 19 2010)

(Online publication July 12 2010)