Parasitology Research

, Volume 115, Issue 11, pp 4129–4138 | Cite as

Morphology, seasonality and phylogeny of Zschokkella trachini n. sp. (Myxozoa, Myxosporea) infecting the gallbladder of greater weever Trachinus draco (L.) from Tunisian waters

  • Ramla Azizi
  • Luis F. Rangel
  • Ricardo Castro
  • Maria J. Santos
  • Sihem Bahri
Original Paper


We describe a new myxosporean species, Zschokkella trachini n. sp., infecting the gallbladder of greater weever Trachinus draco Linnaeus 1758 from Tunisia. This is the first record of Zschokkella species in T. draco. Plasmodia were polysporic producing six to eight mature spores; they were attached to the gallbladder epithelium or free floating in the bile. Mature spores were sub-ovoid in the frontal view, measured 15.2 ± 0.6 (14.4–16.0) μm in length and 9.8 ± 0.7 (9.0–10.8) μm in width. Two equal spherical polar capsules 4.0 ± 0.4 (3.6–4.5) μm in diameter, were located separately at the spore’s extremities. The prevalence of infection ranged from 23.5 to 87.7 %. Morphological data and molecular analysis of the small subunit rDNA gene identified this parasite as a new species of Zschokkella. Neighbour joining clustered the parasite in a sub-clade containing other Zschokkella species parasiting the gallbladder of marine fish hosts, located within the coelozoic clade of the major freshwater clade. This is the second Zschokkella species reported from Tunisia.


Myxosporean Zschokkella trachini n. sp. Trachinus draco Morphology Seasonality Phylogeny Tunisia 



The research was in part supported by a research scholarship provided to Ramla Azizi from the University Tunis El Manar. The molecular part was partially supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the COMPETE—Operational Competitiveness Programme, and national funds through FCT—Foundation for Science and Technology, under the project DIRDAMyx, reference FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-020726/FCT-PTDC/MAR/116838/2010; by the Structured Program of R&D&I INNOVMAR—Innovation and Sustainability in the Management and Exploitation of Marine Resources, reference NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000035, namely within the Research Line INSEAFOOD Innovation and valorization of seafood products: meeting local challenges and opportunities, within the R&D Institution CIIMAR (InterdisciplinaryCentre of Marine and Environmental Research), supported by the Northern Regional Operational Programme (NORTE2020), through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF); and the PhD fellowship grant SFRH/BD/82237/2011 attributed to L. Rangel through the programme POPH/FSE QREN.

Compliance with ethical standards

All applicable international, national and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ramla Azizi
    • 1
  • Luis F. Rangel
    • 2
  • Ricardo Castro
    • 2
  • Maria J. Santos
    • 2
  • Sihem Bahri
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Unit of Integrative Biology and Evolutionary and Functional Ecology of Aquatic Systems, Faculty of Science of TunisUniversity of Tunis El ManarTunisTunisia
  2. 2.Laboratory of Animal Pathology, Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR), Biology Department, Faculty of Sciences (FCUP)University of PortoPortoPortugal

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