The historic genus Pleistophora (Plistophora) is a highly polyphyletic clade with invertebrate Microsporidia reassigned to several new genera since the 1980s. Two genera, Endoreticulatus and Cystosporogenes, clearly separate into distinct but closely related clades based on small subunit ribosomal RNA analysis but are included in different families that are each polyphyletic. A microsporidium with morphology resembling the Endoreticulatus/Cystosporogenes clade was isolated from the grasshopper Poecilimon thoracicus from a site in Northwest Bulgaria. It produced intense infections in the digestive tract of the host but no behavioral changes were noted in infected individuals. Prevalence of the microsporidium increased over the active feeding season yearly. Mature spores were oval and measured 2.58 ± 0.21. μm × 1.34 ± 0.24. μm, with 16 to approximately 32 spores in a parasitophorous vacuole. The spores were uninucleate and polar filament coils numbered 8-9 situated in a single row. The spore polaroplast consisted of an anterior lamellar section and a posterior vesicular section, and the posterior vacuole was reduced. Analyses of a 1221. bp partial SSU-rRNA sequence indicated that the isolate is more closely related to the Endoreticulatus clade than to Cystosporogenes, but shows earlier phylogenetic separation from species infecting Lepidoptera and represents a new species, Endoreticulatus poecilimonae. To compare sequences of Endoreticulatus spp. from Lepidoptera to those infecting other insect orders, an isolate, Microsporidium itiiti Malone (1985), described from the Argentine stem weevil, Listronotus bonariensis, was sequenced. Like the grasshopper isolate, the weevil isolate is closely related but basal to the lepidopteran Endoreticulatus clade. The original description combined with the new sequence data confirms species status and permits transfer of the isolate from Microsporidium, a genus erected for microsporidian species of uncertain taxonomic status, to Endoreticulatus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics