Folia Parasitologica, vol. 63 (2016)

Folia Parasitologica 63:011 (2016) | 10.14411/fp.2016.011

Intraspecific morphometric variation in myxosporeans

Yanhua Zhai1,2,3, Christopher M. Whipps4, Zemao Gu1,2,3, Qingxiang Guo1, Zizhen Wu1, Hongmei Wang1, Yang Liu1,2,3
1 Department of Aquatic Animal Medicine, College of Fisheries, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, People's Republic of China;
2 Key Lab of Freshwater Animal Breeding, Ministry of Agriculture, Wuhan, People's Republic of China;
3 Freshwater Aquaculture Collaborative Innovation Center of Hubei Province, Wuhan, People's Republic of China;
4 State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Environmental and Forest Biology, Syracuse, NY, USA

Morphometric data from spores of ten myxosporean species were statistically analysed to explore myxosporean intraspecific variation in measurements when obtained from a sample from: (1) the same plasmodium, (2) different plasmodia from the same host and (3) different host individuals and localities. In some cases, significant differences in spore dimensions were found between samples from the same plasmodium, highlighting the difficulty of obtaining representative measurements of myxosporean spore. In addition, significant differences in spore dimensions were found when plasmodia from the same site of infection were compared, suggesting that measurements of spores should come from several different plasmodia of the sampling to increase the reliability of the morphology data. Moreover, significant differences in spore dimensions were observed for most spore dimensions when data were compared between localities. In all cases, there was clear overlap in ranges of dimensions even when means differed significantly. The present statistical analysis shows that intraspecific morphometric variation of myxosporean species commonly occurs, highlighting the importance of reporting ranges of measurements for a species, not just the mean dimensions, and taking into account all evidence when assigning or describing myxosporean species.

Keywords: intraspecific variation, Myxozoa, morphology, species differentiation, Myxobolidae

Received: December 28, 2015; Accepted: February 12, 2016; Published online: April 1, 2016


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