New pathological condition in cultured mulloway Argyrosomus japonicus: Histopathological, ultrastructural and molecular studies

Dina Zilberg, J. Brian Jones, Mieke A.A. Burger, Philip K. Nicholls, Druime Nolan, Melanie Crockford, Fran Stephens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Mulloway Argyrosomus japonicus is a native fish species in Western Australia, for which aquaculture production has recently been developed. A single cohort was stocked in a cage offshore at Geraldton, Western Australia, at a water depth of 6 m. Fish appeared healthy before stocking. Routine histological analysis was carried out from 10 mo post stocking and until completion of harvest (about 2.5 yr post stocking). No gross pathology was evident. Microscopically, however, granulomatous lesions were present in the kidneys of almost 100% of the fish examined. Enclosed in the granuloma was an aggregate of organisms, 4.2 to 5.4 μm in diameter. Kidney granulomas appeared as multi-focal aggregates. Granulomas at different stages of formation and finally fibrosing granulomas were observed. Granulomas also appeared infrequently in other organs: a few granulomas were found in the liver and spleen and a single granuloma in the heart of one fish. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed that the organism was composed of 2 cells, an outer cell enclosing an inner cell. The inner cell was surrounded by a double membrane and the outer cell by a single membrane. Cellular material, presumably of parasitic nature, surrounded the outer cell. The organism contained primitive mitochondria and abundant free ribosomes. Small subunit ribosomal DNA (SSU rDNA) sequence obtained by PCR revealed an 84% sequence identity with the myxosporean Latyspora scomberomori. Based on TEM and preliminary molecular results, we suggest that the organism is the extrasporogonic developmental stage of a myxozoan parasite, which failed to form spores in the mulloway host.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-230
Number of pages12
JournalDiseases of Aquatic Organisms
Issue number3
StatePublished - 12 Sep 2012


  • Fish
  • Granuloma
  • Liver
  • Mulloway
  • Parasite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


Dive into the research topics of 'New pathological condition in cultured mulloway Argyrosomus japonicus: Histopathological, ultrastructural and molecular studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this