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Acta Parasitologica

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Volume 60, Issue 2


Ultrastructural characterization of Acarispora falculifera n.gen., n.sp., a new microsporidium (Opisthokonta: Chytridiopsida) from the feather mite Falculifer rostratus (Astigmata: Pterolichoidea)

Renate Radek
  • Corresponding author
  • Free University of Berlin, Institute of Biology/Zoology, Konigin-Luise-Str. 1–3, 14195 Berlin, Germany
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/ Madlen Kariton
  • Free University of Berlin, Institute of Biology/Zoology, Konigin-Luise-Str. 1-3, 14195 Berlin, Germany
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/ Jacek Dabert
  • Adam Mickiewicz University, Faculty of Biology, Department of Animal Morphology, Umultowska 89, 61-614 Poznan, Poland
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/ Gerd Alberti
  • Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald, Zoological Institute and Museum, Department of General and Systematic Zoology, Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Str. 11/12, 17489 Greifswald, Germany
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Published Online: 2015-03-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ap-2015-0029


Only about 20 species of microsporidia have been described from mites. All except one species produce typical spores with a long polar filament and a polaroplast. This paper is the first study of an atypical microsporidium infection in a feather mite (Falculifer rostratus). The infection of the pigeon feather mite is restricted to the colon epithelium where it leads to hypertrophy of the concerned cells. During sporogony, a multinucleate plasmodial aggregate is formed within a sporont (endogenous sporogony resulting in a polysporophorous vesicle). The cisterns delimiting the single sporoblasts later form the spore walls. Sporogonial stages are in direct contact to the host cell cytoplasm. Merogonial stages were not present. Spores are tiny (3.6 μm × 2.6 μm), broad oval in form and monokaryotic. The spore wall of mature spores consists of a three-layered endospore and a thin, electron-dense, wavy exospore. The polar filament is anisofilar and completely coiled in 3-4 turns. In cross-sections, it has a star-like appearance because the electron-dense core forms rounded compartments of lucent material at its surface. In superficial sections, this results in a honeycomb-like pattern. A polaroplast is missing. The polar filament arises subapically at a polar sac that lacks an internal anchoring disk. These atypical spore structures clearly classify the species from the feather mite as a member of the order Chytridiopsida. It could not be clearly affiliated to one of the known genera, so we created a new genus, Acarispora, with the species A. falculifera.

Keywords: Acarispora; arthropod; Chytridiopsida; Falculiferidae; microsporidia; mite


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About the article

Received: 2014-09-11

Revised: 2014-11-05

Accepted: 2014-11-27

Published Online: 2015-03-25

Published in Print: 2015-06-01

Citation Information: Acta Parasitologica, Volume 60, Issue 2, Pages 200–210, ISSN (Online) 1896-1851, ISSN (Print) 1230-2821, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ap-2015-0029.

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