Intense infections of a variant of Myxobolus procerus (Kudo, 1934) are described from trout-perch (Percopsis omiscomaycus (Walbaum)) collected in Duluth Harbor, Lake Superior, USA. This particular population of parasites has spores that are identical in shape (narrow pyriform) to those described for M. procerus except that they are significantly smaller (13-14.5 μm long versus 15-17 μm long). In contrast to what was originally described for M. procerus, the plasmodia develop primarily within red and white striated muscle fibres and only rarely among the subdermal connective tissue. Most plasmodia were at or near the same stage of development. Typical development involves growth within the fibre. The parasite eventually replaces the entire content of the host cell and appears to halt development before rupturing the outer cell membrane. The only obvious host response was an occasional cyst being invaded by a localized cellular infiltrate. Infected fish appeared of normal health and no grossly evident myoliquefaction was seen. The infections involved several hundred plasmodia per fish and the question of why such unusually high levels of infection would develop in hosts inhabiting a polluted habitat is raised. It is suggested that proliferation of a pollution tolerant oligochaete (the suspected alternate host) in the harbour and/or a compromised host immune system may have increased the probability of successful transmission and development in trout-perch living in the harbour.
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|Published - Jun 3 1997
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