Cucullanus egyptae sp. nov. (Nematoda, Cucullanidae) infecting the European eel Anguilla anguilla in Egypt. Morphological and molecular phylogenetic studies

Parasitol Res. 2014 Sep;113(9):3457-65. doi: 10.1007/s00436-014-4016-4. Epub 2014 Jul 17.


A total of 80 specimens of the European eel Anguilla anguilla were collected during the period from February 2013 to March 2014 at the coast of the Gulf of Suez (Red Sea, Egypt). A new species of parasitic nematodes was recovered and described as Cucullanus egyptae. It was found in the eel's intestine with a prevalence of 68.7%. The morphology of the recovered parasite was studied by light and scanning electron microscopy. The adult worms had a wide cephalic extremity with a slit-like oral aperture being surrounded by a cuticular ring and delimited internally by a row of small teeth in addition to four sub-median cephalic papillae and one pair of lateral amphids. Body measurements showed that the male worms were smaller than females measuring 7.5-8.9 mm (8.3 ± 0.2) in length and 1.6-1.9 mm (1.8 ± 0.1) in width. Females measured 12.9-13.5 mm (13.1 ± 0.2) in length and 2.9-3.2 mm (3.1 ± 0.1) in width. The posterior end of the males is provided with ten pairs of caudal papillae and two long spicules which are slightly sclerotized, equal in size measuring 0.59-0.65 mm (0.62 ± 0.01) in length. Comparing the present worms with other species of the genus Cucullanus, several similarities were observed. However, peculiar new characteristics such as the precloacal sucker (especially the spicula length), the arrangement and the distribution of the post-cloacal papillae, and the position of the excretory pore make it reasonable to describe a new species. The sequence data of the small subunit (SSU) ribosomal DNA (rDNA) obtained from the present nematode supported its taxonomic position within the genus Cucullanus. The new species is closely related to the first clade of Spirurina and even more closely related to Cucullanus dodsworthi as a sister taxon with a high percentage of identity. The sequence of the recorded SSU rDNA of this parasite is deposited in the GenBank with the accession no. KF681520. It is proposed to name the new species C. egyptae as the first representative of Cucullanidae in Egypt with a new host record.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anguilla / parasitology*
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Egypt / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Fish Diseases / epidemiology
  • Fish Diseases / parasitology*
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nematoda / classification
  • Nematoda / isolation & purification*
  • Nematoda / ultrastructure
  • Nematode Infections / epidemiology
  • Nematode Infections / parasitology
  • Nematode Infections / veterinary*
  • Phylogeny*


  • DNA, Ribosomal