First record of a 'fish' blood fluke (Digenea: Aporocotylidae) from a marine mammal: Cardicola dhangali n. sp.

Hutson, Kate Suzanne, Vaughan, David Brendan, and Blair, David (2019) First record of a 'fish' blood fluke (Digenea: Aporocotylidae) from a marine mammal: Cardicola dhangali n. sp. International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife, 10. pp. 23-28.

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We describe the first known blood fluke from a marine mammal, the dugong, Dugong dugon (Sirenia:Dugongidae), which represents a new species of aporocotylid, Cardicola dhangali n. sp. (Digenea: Aporocotylidae). Eggs presumed to be of blood flukes have been previously reported from dugongs. This exciting discovery raises questions regarding evolution and host-switching in the Aporocotylidae, which prior to this study were only known to infect actinopterygian and chondrichthyan fishes. The new species has male and female genital pores opening on the right side of the body, with the male genital pore opening posterior to the entire reproductive system and the testis is extra-caecal. The uterus is highly convoluted, and the ovary is irregularly lobate. These features, together with the size and number of the tegumental spines per row, easily distinguish the new species from the most similar congeners Cardicola aurata Holzer et al., 2008, Cardicola chaetodontis Yamaguti, 1970, Cardicola currani Bullard and Overstreet, 2004, Cardicola forsteri Cribb et al., 2000, C. jiingurru Yong et al., 2016, and Cardicola palmeri Bullard and Overstreet, 2004, all of which infect actinopterygian fishes. Given that Cardicola is the most diverse and least host-specific of the marine aporocotylid genera, it seems credible that a successful host-switch has occurred from an actinopterygian to D. dugon. Further sampling of sirenians and other marine mammals is warranted to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the evolutionary biology and biodiversity of the blood flukes (superfamily Schistosomatoidea Stiles and Hassall, 1898), but presents a substantial challenge with respect to their conservation status and large size.

Item ID: 60364
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2213-2244
Keywords: Aporocotylidae; Schistosomidae; Spirorchiidae; Blood fluke; Cardicola, Dugong
Copyright Information: © 2019 Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of Australian Society for Parasitology. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
Funders: James Cook University
Research Data: http://10.25903/5c527ca5c8b6d
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2019 23:37
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310913 Invertebrate biology @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3107 Microbiology > 310702 Infectious agents @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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