"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

September 16, 2011

Sphaeromyxa cannolii

We've met other myxozoan parasites before, including the very well-known causative agent of whirling disease in salmonid fishes, Myxobolus cerebralis. Today, meet a newly described species of myxozoan that was found infecting seahorses collected from the Gulf of Mexico. Not only was this the first such species described from this seahorse, but this is also the first time that any pathology attributable to a species in this genus has been recorded. The abundance of the parasites in the liver was observed to obstruct the bile ducts of the fish, which caused noticeable accumulation of bile in the diseased hosts. The intermediate hosts are presumed to be some kind of annelid worm, but remain unknown for this species. And in case you were wondering, yes, the species name for this parasite comes from the fact that it looks like a cannoli.

Image from the paper.

Reference: Sears, B.F., P. Anderson, and E.C. Greiner. 2011. A new species of myxosporean (Sphaeromyxidae), a parasite of lined seahorses, Hippocampus erectus, from the Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Parasitology 97:713-716.

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