Morphology of diplomonad flagellates: Spironucleus torosa n. sp. from Atlantic cod Gadus morhua L., and haddock Melanogrammus aeglefinus (L.) and Hexamita salmonis Moore from brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis (Mitchill)

J Protozool. Sep-Oct 1990;37(5):369-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1550-7408.1990.tb01160.x.


A diplomonad flagellate, Spironucleus torosa n. sp. is described from Atlantic Cod Gadus morhua and haddock Melanogrammus aeglefinus. This is believed to be the 1st confirmed report of Spironucleus from a marine fish. Organisms swimming in the rectal lumen were broadly pyriform to elongate, and measured 10.5-18.6 microns long and 3.2-13.3 microns wide; other elongate organisms were attached to the rectal epithelium, via apical extensions appearing continuous with the microvilli. The posterior end of the body was extended into a caudal projection, on either side of which was a posteriolateral ring-shaped protrusion or torus, with a recurrent flagellum emerging from its centre. A symmetrical system of microtubules and lamellae, forming a "V" in protargol impregnated specimens, supported the flanges of the body surrounding the tori, the tori themselves and the caudal projection. Supranuclear microtubules were an inverted V to U shape in transverse section, and an electron dense band accompanied the cytostomes. Lightly staining homogenous cytoplasm was usually present in the anterior part of the body, the remainder being highly vacuolated with numerous dark granules. In swimming organisms, rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) was present around the nuclei and cytostomes, and bacteria were occasionally seen in the cytoplasm. In "attached" organisms, RER was reduced, and bacteria were absent. Hexamita salmonis Moore from Salvelinus fontinalis was studied by light and scanning electron microscopy for comparison; its cytoplasm was not highly vacuolated. The two recurrent flagella emerged close together from the blunt posterior end of the body.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Eukaryota / classification
  • Eukaryota / growth & development
  • Eukaryota / ultrastructure*
  • Fishes / parasitology*
  • Trout / parasitology