"So, naturalists observe, a flea has smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller still to bite ’em; and so proceed ad infinitum."
- Jonathan Swift

August 5, 2010

August 5 - Dinemoleus indeprensus

Dinemoleus indeprensus is a parasitic copepod which is in the same family as Pandarus rhincodonicus (the whale shark ectoparasite), however there is something that sets this little guy apart from the rest. For obvious reasons, parasite fauna are usually described only after their host species are recognised - but not this one. D. indeprensus is an ectoparasite of the Megamouth Shark (Megachasma pelagios), and it is notable for being probably the only parasite to have been formally described before its host. Due to some unusual reasons, while D. indeprensus was already described in 1978, the Megamouth itself was not officially described until five years later in 1983!

The description for D. indeprensus is here:
Cressey, R., Boyle, H. (1978) A new genus and species of parasitic copepod (Pandaridae) from a unique new shark. Pacific Science 32:25-30, which is also where the picture came from - check out the intro of that paper!

Contributed by Tommy Leung.

1 comment:

  1. This is not so unusual. Many adult parasitic copepods have been described from the plankton. And many of these have never been found with a host.

    Some parasites and host were described simultaneously.