Thelohania butleri, a microsporidian that causes mortality and commercial losses in the smooth pink shrimp Pandalus jordani, is of taxonomic interest as a species resembling the poorly studied type species, Thelohania giardi, of the large, polyphyletic genus Thelohania. We examined the ultrastructure of T. butleri to confirm its identity and reconstructed phylogenies using ribosomal DNA to find the relationship of T. butleri with other Thelohania species in crayfish and ants. Light and transmission electron microscopy from specimens collected from the type locality, the Pacific coast of Canada, confirmed the identity and demonstrated a development similar to that of T. giardi, involving a series of binary fissions without formation of a plasmodium. Phylogenetic analyses consistently showed T. butleri to be distantly related to other Thelohania species, and closely related to species from marine decapods within a larger fish-parasitic clade. Together, features such as host group and habitat, developmental morphology, and phylogeny suggest T. butleri may be a closer relative to T. giardi than any other Thelohania species represented by DNA data so far, and thus imply species from crayfish and ants may not belong in this genus. Results also confirm that genus Thelohania and family Thelohanidae are in need of revision.
- Cotton shrimp disease
- Crustacean-parasitic microsporidian