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Morphology, seasonality and phylogeny of Zschokkella soleae sp. n. (Myxozoa, Myxosporea) parasite of Solea solea (L.) (Pleuronectiformes, Soleidae) from Ghar El Melh Lagoon, Tunisia


Correspondence C Yemmen, Département de Biologie, Faculté des Sciences de Tunis, Université Tunis El Manar, Tunis 2092, Tunis



A new Myxosporea, Zschokkella soleae sp. n., was found in the gall bladder and the bile of common sole, Solea solea (L.), from Ghar El Melh Lagoon in north-east Tunisia. This is the first record for the presence of Zschokkella species in Tunisian waters. The parasite's plasmodia are polysporic with variable size and shape. Some plasmodia appeared attached to the gall bladder epithelium while others were found free in bile. Mature spores are ellipsoidal in frontal view 13.8 ± 0.38 μm long and 10.86 ± 0.40 μm wide with two equal size spherical polar capsules 3.6 ± 0.43 μm in size. The prevalence of infection seems to correlate with host size and changes over the year with maximum percentage in summer. Based on the 18S rDNA sequence data, Z. soleae sp. n. is readily distinguishable from other myxozoan DNA sequences in GenBank. Phylogenetically, the new species is placed in the freshwater Myxidium clade including several Zschokkella spp. infecting the gall bladder. Morphology, histology as well as DNA sequence analysis indicate that the examined species differs from all previously described Zschokkella species.