Spore ornamentation is increasingly recognized as a key character for species differentiation and genus assignment in the phylum Haplosporidia. Unfortunately, spore ornamentation is known for only a small number of described species so it is difficult to assign most species to genera with any confidence. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy were used to determine the presence and morphology of spore ornamentation of Haplosporidium pickfordi collected from the digestive gland of the snail Physella parkeri in Douglas Lake, Michigan. Spores possess filaments that are derived from the spore wall and originate from two separate areas at the posterior end of the spore. When spores are first isolated from host tissue, filaments are fused into a sheet that wraps around the spore, passing under the opercular lid. These filaments gradually unravel when spores are held in water and after about 14 d most filaments project freely from the posterior end of the spore. The number of filaments could not be determined with certainty, but appears to be approximately nine. Filaments are 100 nm in diam. and up to 50 μm in length. The presence of spore wall-derived filaments confirms the placement of the parasite in the genus Haplosporidium.
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Vol. 48 • No. 6