Haplosporidium acetes n. sp. infecting the hepatopancreas of jelly prawns Acetes sibogae australis from Moreton Bay, Australia

J Invertebr Pathol. 2022 May:190:107751. doi: 10.1016/j.jip.2022.107751. Epub 2022 Mar 28.


Wild Acetes sibogae australis from northern Moreton Bay, Australia displaying opacity of the hepatopancreas were sampled and examined histologically, revealing infection by multinucleate plasmodia of a haplosporidian-like parasite in the epithelial cells of the hepatopancreas. A morphological and phylogenetic investigation identified the parasite as a novel species of the order Haplosporida, and the parasite is described as Haplosporidium acetes n. sp. This is the first report of disease caused by a haplosporidian in wild Australian decapod crustaceans, and the first record of haplosporidiosis in sergestid shrimp. Infections of H. acetes were observed in all cell types (R, B, F and E) within the hepatopancreas. Infected epithelial cells became hypertrophied as they filled with haplosporidian parasites and, in heavy infections, caused almost complete displacement of normal hepatopancreas tissue. Although sporulation was not observed, infected jelly prawns appeared terminally diseased. Infections became grossly evident in around 5% of wild prawns during early autumn at a time of year when jelly prawn populations decline rapidly with decreasing water temperatures, however histopathology indicated at least 13% of apparently normal jelly prawns were also infected. Further studies are required in order to determine if this parasite influences jelly prawn population dynamics. In addition, we report co-infection of a novel microsporidian parasite in the Enterocytozoon Group Microsporidia (EGM) infecting nuclei of hepatopancreatic epithelial cells. The microsporidian was phylogenetically distinct from Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei (EHP) known to infect penaeid shrimp in Asia.

Keywords: Decapoda; Disease; Haplosporidia; Microsporidia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Australia
  • Haplosporida*
  • Hepatopancreas
  • Microsporidia*
  • Penaeidae* / parasitology
  • Phylogeny