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A freshwater angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) hatchery experienced variable levels of emaciation, poor growth rates, swollen coelomic cavities, anorexia, listlessness, and increased mortality within their fish. Multiple chemotherapeutic trials had been attempted without success. In affected fish, large numbers of protozoa were identified both histologically and ultrastructurally associated with the gastric mucosa. The youngest cohort of parasitized fish was the most severely affected and demonstrated the greatest morbidity and mortality. The protozoa were morphologically most consistent with Cryptosporidium. All of the protozoan life stages were identified ultrastructurally and protozoal genomic DNA was isolated from parasitized tissue viscera and sequenced. Histological, ultrastructural, genetic, and phylogenetic analyses confirmed this protozoal organism to be a novel species of Cryptosporidium.
Additional Publication Details
Gastric cryptosporidiosis in freshwater angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare)