Folia Parasitologica, vol. 49 (2002), issue 2

Folia Parasitologica 49[2] 137-151 (2002) | 10.14411/fp.2002.025

Gnathia pantherina sp. n. (Crustacea: Isopoda: Gnathiidae), a temporary ectoparasite of some elasmobranch species from southern Africa

Nico J. Smit1,2, Linda Basson1
1 Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of the Free State, P.O. Box 339, Bloemfontein, 9300, South Africa
2 Present address: School of Life Sciences, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, KT1 2EE, UK

Haematophagous larvae of a gnathiid isopod were collected from the gills, nares and buccal cavity of a single leopard catshark Poroderma pantherinum (Smith, 1838) at Jeffreys Bay and five puffadder shysharks Haploblepharus edwardsii (Voight, 1832) and one blackspotted electric ray Torpedo fuscomaculata Peters, 1855, at the De Hoop Nature Reserve on the South African south coast. Larvae were kept in fresh seawater until their moult into adult stages. The morphology of the adult males did not conform to that of any known species and they are therefore described as Gnathia pantherina sp. n. The descriptions of the adult male, female and praniza larva are based on light and scanning electron microscopy observations. Characteristic features of this species include the large size of all the final life-cycle stages, the deeply divided mediofrontal process of the male, the morphology of the pylopods and maxillipedes of the female, and the number of teeth on the mandibles (eight) and maxillules (seven) of the praniza larvae.

Keywords: Gnathiidae, Gnathia, description, morphology, parasite, Elasmobranchii

Received: June 4, 2001; Accepted: October 23, 2001; Published: June 1, 2002; Published: June 1, 2002


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