- Parasitology Research (ISSN:09320113)
- vol.120, no.6, pp.2357-2362, 2021-06
Nectonema, the only horsehair worm (Nematomorpha) genus found in marine environments, was previously known to be parasitic only in decapod crustaceans. We report Nectonema sp. as the first record of a marine nematomorph parasitic in isopod crustaceans. This is also the third record of marine nematomorphs from the North Pacific. Six infected isopods (Natatolana japonensis) collected from 1425 m of depth in the Sea of Japan each contained one to seven (mean 2.33) nematomorphs in the body cavity in the pereon. There was no correlation between the host body length and number of parasites. For Nectonema sp., we describe and illustrate morphological features of the parasitic juvenile stage and present nucleotide sequences for the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene (COI or cox1; 451 nt), 18S rRNA gene (1777 nt), and region spanning the internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) and the 28S rRNA gene including the 5.8S rRNA gene and ITS2 (1218 nt in total). In an 18S maximum-likelihood tree that included 24 nematomorph species, Nectonema sp. grouped with N. agile from the northwestern Atlantic; the 18S gene from these two taxa was divergent by 11.8% K2P distance, suggesting that they are different species. Nectonema species may have a broader range of host groups than previously suspected, but may have been previously misidentified as nematode parasites.