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Characterization of a coelomic gregarine parasite from Thitarodes pui (Lepidoptera: Hepialidae) in the Tibetan Plateau

Sun, Zixuan, Peng, Qingyun, Wu, Wenjing, Zhang, Guren
Journal of invertebrate pathology 2012 v.111 no.2 pp. 160-165
Ascogregarina, Eugregarinorida, Ophiocordyceps sinensis, Thitarodes, adults, amylopectin, cytoplasmic granules, entomopathogenic fungi, gametocytes, hemolymph, hosts, instars, internal transcribed spacers, larvae, oocysts, parasites, ribosomal DNA, scanning electron microscopy, sequence analysis, transmission electron microscopy, vacuoles, China
Thitarodes pui, one of the host species of entomopathogenic fungus Ophiocordyceps sinensis, has great economic importance in the Tibetan Plateau. We report here, for the first time, a gregarine parasite found in the coelom of 7th instar and adults of T. pui. Gregarine gamonts (ovoid, ∼15×8μm) underwent syzygy to produce reproductive gametocysts in T. pui larval hemolymph. All infected T. pui carried 2–17 mature gametocysts filled with numerous oocysts (lemon-shaped, 17.17±0.73×6.49±0.4μm). Transmission electron microscopy showed that these oocysts contained vacuoles of various sizes and amylopectin granules in the cytoplasm; scanning electron microscopy revealed a number of small bumps all over the surface of these oocysts. Small subunit ribosomal DNA sequence analysis showed a close relationship between the gregarine and the species of Ascogregarina (Eugregarinorida: Lecudinidae). Internal transcribed spacers and 5.8S ribosomal DNA from this gregarine exhibited 76% highest sequence identity with that from Ascogregarina culicis Ross.