Systematic Parasitology

, Volume 72, Issue 2, pp 97-112

First online:

Gnathia trimaculata n. sp. (Crustacea: Isopoda: Gnathiidae), an ectoparasite found parasitising requiem sharks from off Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

  • Maryke L. CoetzeeAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, University of Johannesburg
  • , Nico J. SmitAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, University of Johannesburg Email author 
  • , Alexandra S. GrutterAffiliated withSchool of Integrative Biology, The University of Queensland
  • , Angela J. DaviesAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, University of JohannesburgSchool of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science, Kingston University

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Gnathia trimaculata n. sp. is described from one black tip reef shark Carcharinus melanopterus Quoy & Gaimard and four grey reef sharks C. amblyrhynchos Bleeker collected off Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Third-stage juveniles (praniza 3) were maintained in fresh seawater until they moulted into adults. Male adults emerged seven days post-removal (d.p.r) of pranizae from host fishes, whereas the female pranizae completed their moult into adult females 24 d.p.r. Distinctive features include the relatively large size of all stages and the unique mediofrontal process of the male, which is divided into two lobes forming a key-hole shape between them. The female frontal border is characterised by paired simple, pappose setae on the sides of the mid-dorsal area, as well as four long, pappose setae on the mid-dorsal region. The pranizae have eight teeth on each mandible. Live pranizae have stripes and three pairs of distinctive black spots within yellow circles on the sides of the pereonites and this pigmentation pattern persists in the adults. This represents the second description of a gnathiid parasitising elasmobranchs off Australia.