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Distribution and Host Range of the Microsporidian Pleistophora mulleri


Corresponding Author: J. Ironside, Institute of Biological Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Ceredigion SY23 3DA, United Kingdom—Telephone number: +01970 621518; FAX number: +01970 622350; e-mail:


ABSTRACT. Microsporidia of the genus Pleistophora are important parasites of fish and crustacea. Pleistophora mulleri has been described previously as a parasite of the gammarid amphipod crustacean Gammarus duebeni celticus in Irish freshwater habitats. Through a survey of European G. duebeni populations, P. mulleri was found to be widely distributed in the western British Isles (Wales, Scotland, and the Isle of Man), and populations of the subspecies Gammarus duebeni duebeni as well as G. d. celticus were infected. Pleistophora infections were also detected in G. d. duebeni sampled from the Bay of Gdansk on Poland's Baltic coast, indicating a wide distribution of Pleistophora in European G. duebeni. Sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA, 18S rRNA, and Rpb1 genes of P. mulleri suggest that this species may be synonymous with P. typicalis, a parasite of fish. These findings suggest that amphipod crustaceans may act as intermediate or reservoir hosts for microsporidian parasites of fish.

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