Spatial, temporal and host factors structure the Ceratomyxa shasta (Myxozoa) population in the Klamath River basin

Infect Genet Evol. 2010 Oct;10(7):1019-26. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2010.06.013. Epub 2010 Jul 1.


The myxozoan parasite Ceratomyxa shasta is a virulent pathogen of salmonid fish in the Klamath River, Oregon/California, USA. We previously defined four principal genotypes of the parasite (O, I, II, III) based on a trinucleotide repeat (ATC)(0-3) in Internal Transcribed Spacer region 1 sequences. Genotypes occur in sympatry and show marked host preference: I in Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tschawytscha) and II in non-native rainbow trout (O. mykiss). In the present study, we sequenced the parasite from river water samples collected in May, June and September at three localities below, above and between the Klamath's five dams. We also sampled adult and juvenile coho salmon (O. kisutch), steelhead trout (O. mykiss, anadromous form) and native redband rainbow trout (O. mykiss, freshwater form) and additional Chinook salmon and non-native rainbow trout. We found that the C. shasta population was highly structured spatially, temporally and with respect to fish host species. Genotype O was present in water throughout the basin but detected almost exclusively in steelhead and native rainbow trout. Genotype I was in water only below the dams and detected only in Chinook salmon. Genotype II was detected in coho salmon below the dams, and in non-native rainbow trout exposed both above and below the dams. The same genotypes were detected in adult and juvenile fish of the same species. These findings have major implications for the design of effective surveillance and control programs for this economically and ecologically important fish parasite.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • California / epidemiology
  • Demography
  • Fish Diseases / epidemiology
  • Fish Diseases / parasitology*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Myxozoa / genetics*
  • Oregon / epidemiology
  • Parasitic Diseases, Animal / epidemiology
  • Parasitic Diseases, Animal / parasitology*
  • Phylogeny
  • Rivers / parasitology
  • Salmonidae*
  • Time Factors
  • Water / parasitology


  • Water