Eastern Tubifex tubifex worms were exposed to Myxobolus cerebralis spores at 9, 13, 17, and 20 C in 1-L jars that contained sand, mud, or leaf litter as substrata. Beginning 60 days after exposure, water from each jar was filtered daily and examined for the presence of waterborne triactinomyxon spores (TAMs). On discovering a single TAM from an experimental jar, 48 T. tubifex worms from that jar were placed individually into 24-well plates. Spores released from individual infected T. tubifex worms were quantified to determine the first day of TAM release from infected worms, the infection rate, the total number of TAMs released per worm, and the duration of release. No TAMs were found in any of the jars incubated at 20 C or in uninfected, control worms at any temperature. The total number of TAMs released by infected worms in mud and sand was highest at 13 C compared with other temperatures. Infection rates among individual worms increased with temperature between 9 and 17 C. Higher temperatures (up to 17 C) induced earlier TAM releases among infected worms, and substratum did not influence this production parameter. The average duration of TAM release decreased as the temperature increased from 9 to 17 C, and there was a significant effect of substratum in the groups maintained at 13 and 17 C. In all temperature treatments between 9 and 17 C, the duration of release was least in the worms maintained in leaf litter, as was the total number of TAMs released during the experimental period and the median number of TAMs per production day.
Additional publication details
Effects of water temperature and substrate type on spore production and release in eastern Tubifex tubifex worms infected with Myxobolus cerebralis