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Hepatic microsporidiosis of mudskipper, Boleophthalmus dussumieri Valenciennes, 1837 (Perciformes: Gobiidae), due to Microgemma sp.


The present study reports a case of hepatic microsporidiosis caused by Microgemma sp. in brackishwater fish, Boleophthalmus dussumieri (Valenciennes, 1837) (n = 60), from the west coast of India. An eight-month study from September 2017 to April 2018 revealed a prevalence of 11.7% for this parasite. The microsporidian showed tissue-specific infection and did not reveal any gross pathology in infected fish. Small whitish cysts containing microspores of size 0.3–0.5 mm were observed in the liver of fish. The range of pyriform microsporidian spore size varied from 2.9–3.77 × 1.85–2.67 µm. Scanning electron microscopy of the spores showed a distinct groove on the anterior end of the spore for polar tube extrusion. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of the DNA extracted from the microsporidian-infected liver tissue using primers targeting small ribosomal subunit DNA (SSU rDNA) yielded ~ 1340 bp amplicon and the genetic distance analysis showed a 0.2% variation with the reported M. tilanpasiri. Accordingly, in the phylogenetic tree, the present species of Microgemma clustered with M. tilanpasiri. Even though, the morphomeristic characters of the present Microgemma sp. was marginally different from the reported M. tilanpsasiri; the SSU rDNA showed considerably higher similarity with M. tilanpasiri. Thus, we report the species of Microgemma as Microgemma aff. tilanpasiri from a new host. This is the first report of a microsporidian from B. dussumieri and the first record of the genus Microgemma from India.

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The authors are thankful to the Director, ICAR-CIFE, Mumbai, India, and the Director, ICAR-CMFRI, Kochi, India, for providing the facilities. The first author is grateful to a fellowship support by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

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The study was designed and guided by KVR and NKS. VRV carried out the study in detail. The manuscript was written by all the authors.

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Correspondence to K. V. Rajendran.

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All applicable institutional, national and international guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed in the present study.

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Vandana, V.R., Poojary, N., Tripathi, G. et al. Hepatic microsporidiosis of mudskipper, Boleophthalmus dussumieri Valenciennes, 1837 (Perciformes: Gobiidae), due to Microgemma sp.. J Parasit Dis 46, 72–79 (2022).

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  • Microsporidia
  • Microgemma
  • Parasite
  • Fish
  • Mudskipper
  • Boleophthalmus