Global parasite trafficking: Asian Gyrodactylus (Monogenea) arrived to the U.S.A. via invasive fish Misgurnus anguillicaudatus as a threat to amphibians

  • Florian B. ReydaEmail author
  • Scott M. Wells
  • Alexey V. Ermolenko
  • Marek S. Ziętara
  • Jaakko I. Lumme
Original Paper


A monogenean flatworm Gyrodactylus jennyae Paetow, Cone, Huyse, McLaughlin & Marcogliese, 2009 was previously described as a pathogen on bullfrog Lithobates catesbeianus Shaw, 1802, in a Canadian captive population originating in Missouri, U.S.A. The ITS barcoding of G. jennyae showed relatedness to Asian Gyrodactylus macracanthus Hukuda 1940, a parasite of the Asian loach Misgurnus anguillicaudatus Cantor, 1842. The resulting suggestion that the globally invasive pet-trade of fish may be a mechanism for arrival of Gyrodactylus species to North America provided the framework for the current study. The present study was undertaken following the discovery of two other species of Gyrodactylus in a population of illegally introduced M. anguillicaudatus in New York State. Here the invasion hypothesis was tested via DNA sequencing of the ITS of the two Gyrodactylus species obtained from M. anguillicaudatus from New York, termed Gyrodactylus sp. A and Gyrodactylus sp. B. Both Gyrodactylus sp. A and Gyrodactylus sp. B were closely related to G. jennyae and G. macracanthus, and all belong to a molecularly well-supported monophyletic Asian freshwater group. In conclusion, this invasive fish has trafficked at least three parasite species to the U.S.A., one of them also found on frog. This route from the Asian wetlands to other continents is similar to that of amphibian chytrid fungi of genus Batrachochytrium Longcore, Pessier & Nichols, 1999.


Intercontinental parasite dispersal Molecular systematics Aquatic invasive species Chytrid fungus 



Late Professor Ian Whittington informed us of the Australian situation. The early molecular work in Oulu University was supported by the Academy of Finland (Grants 63787, 134592). Laura Törmälä conducted the DNA work in Oulu. The authors thank Timothy Pokorny (New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation) for assisting with fish collections. We also acknowledge the students of the SUNY Oneonta fall 2013 parasitology class and other SUNY Oneonta students: Tara Aprill, Austin Borden, Jill Darpino, Margaret Doolin, Kathryn Forti, Kaylee Herzog, Elise Iwanyckyj, Sisina Macchiarelli, Zachary Piper, Sam VanDemark, and Craig Wert for their assistance with dissections of M. anguillicaudatus. This study was funded in part by a National Science Foundation Field Stations and Marine Laboratories Grant to W. Harman (NSF DBI 1034744). The comments of two anonymous reviewers contributed to the development of this manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 859 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biology Department and Biological Field StationState University of New York College at OneontaOneontaUSA
  2. 2.Region 4 Bureau of FisheriesNew York State Department of Environmental ConservationStamfordUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Biology and Soil ScienceVladivostokRussia
  4. 4.Department of Molecular Evolution, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of GdańskGdańskPoland
  5. 5.Ecology and GeneticsUniversity of OuluOuluFinland

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