Fish species around the world are parasitized by myxozoans of the genus Kudoa, several of which infect and cause damage of commercial importance. In particular, Kudoa thyrsites and Kudoa amamiensis infect certain cultured fish species causing damage to muscle tissue, making the fish unmarketable. Kudoa thyrsites has a broad host and geographic range infecting over 35 different fish species worldwide, while K. amamiensis has only been reported from a few species in Japanese waters. Through morphological and molecular analyses we have confirmed the presence of both of these parasites in eastern Australian waters. In addition, a novel Kudoa species was identified, having stellate spores, with one polar capsule larger than the other three. The SSU rDNA sequence of this parasite was 1.5% different from K. thyrsites and is an outlier from K. thyrsites representatives in a phylogenetic analysis. Furthermore, the spores of this parasite are distinctly smaller than those of K. thyrsites, and thus it is described as Kudoa minithyrsites n. sp. Although the potential effects of K. minithyrsites n. sp. on its fish hosts are unknown, both K. thyrsites and K. amamiensis are associated with flesh quality problems in some cultured species and may be potential threats to an expanding aquaculture industry in Australia.
Vol. 50 • No. 3