Henneguya michiganensis n. sp. (Cnidaria: Myxosporea) from the gills of muskellunge Esox masquinongy Mitchill(Esociformes: Esocidae)

Thomas G. Rosser, Thomas P. Loch, Mohamed Faisal, Wes A. Baumgartner, Matt J. Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Henneguya Thélohan, 1892 is the second most species rich genus of myxozoans, with reports from freshwater and marine fish worldwide. In the Great Lakes region of North America, muskellunge Esox masquinongy is an important game fish species that serves as an apex predator in the ecosystems of many inland lakes. The myxozoan fauna of esocid fish, especially muskellunge, remains largely understudied. During fish health assessments, muskellunge were examined for parasitic infections and myxozoan pseudocysts were observed on gill clip wet mounts. When ruptured under pressure, the intralamellar pseudocysts released thousands of myxospores consistent with those of the genus Henneguya. The myxospores were 67.3–96.6 (79.1 ± 5.9) µm in total length. The spore body was 18.6–22.6 (20.9 ± 1.0) µm × 5.4–6.9 (6.3 ± 0.4) µm in valvular view and 3.5–4.0 (3.8 ± 0.3) µm wide in sutural view. The two pyriform polar capsules positioned at the anterior of the spore body were 6.4–7.7 (7.0 ± 0.4) µm × 1.8–2.1 (2.0 ± 0.1) µm and each contained a tightly coiled polar filament with 9–10 turns. Two tapering caudal processes extended from the posterior of the spore body and were 47.3–75.6 (58.3 ± 5.8) µm in length. Histologically, large intralamellar polysporic plasmodia were surrounded by plump pillar cells and a distinct layer of plasma. Mild inflammation was present peripherally, with small numbers of necrotic germinative cells and intraplasmodial phagocytes internally. Ribosomal 18S rRNA gene sequence data were obtained from three gill pseudocysts. The three ~2000-bp sequences were identical, but shared no significant similarity with any publicly available sequence data. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrated sequence data from this Henneguya fell within a well-supported clade of Henneguya spp. reported from northern pike Esox lucius in Europe. Based on the distinct morphological, histological and molecular data, this species is designated as Henneguya michiganensisn. sp. from muskellunge in Michigan, USA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-130
Number of pages12
JournalSystematic Parasitology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology


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