While investigating the parasite fauna of wild coho salmon. Oncorhynchus kisutch (Walbaum, 1792), histological examination provided evidence of a new species of Myxobolus (Myxozoa: Myxosporea) infecting nerves of skeletal muscle. Spores were morphologically similar to those of the intramuscular Myxobolus insidiosus Wyatt and Pratt, 1963, both having pyriform spores with clavate polar capsules. However, the former developed exclusively in the nerves of skeletal muscle rather than in myocytes. We examined both species of Myxobolus derived from coho salmon; Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha (Walbaum, 1792); cutthroat trout, Oncorhynchus clarkii (Richardson, 1836); and rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum, 1792) from freshwater in Oregon. Spore morphology, small subunit ribosomal RNA gene (rDNA) sequences, and site of infection were compared. Myxobolus arcticus Pugachev and Khokhlov, 1979 has pyriform spores, infects the central nervous system of many salmonids, and is found in the Pacific Northwest. It was therefore included in the analyses to rule out conspecificity with the new species. Together, these data show that the Myxobolus sp. from peripheral nerves in the skeletal musculature of coho salmon, rainbow trout, and cutthroat trout is a new species, described herein as Myxobolus fryeri n. sp.
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