Pristicola bruchi is a new species of trematode parasite that was recently discovered in lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) in Wisconsin. The intermediate hosts are not known yet, but based on related taxa and the food web in this ecosystem, oligochaetes are likely candidates. The discovery of this species now begins to shed light on the biogeography of sturgeon parasites. There are now three genera that each have two representative species - one in Eurasia and one in North America, suggesting a very ancient vicariant event, perhaps as old as the Cretaceous.
Image is from the original species description, published in 2009.
Cool looking parasite accompanied by a paper with an interesting hypothesis! Is the family that this worm belongs to (Deropristiidae) closely related to the Echinostomatidae by any chance? I've spent a good few years staring down microscopes looking at echinostomes and their spines, and that collar of spines on today's parasite certainly reminds me of those guys!ReplyDelete