SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.76 issue2Antioxidant and antifungal activities of Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze leaves obtained by different forms of productionCytotoxicity of Cheese and Cheddar Cheese food flavorings on Allim cepa L root meristems author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand




Related links


Brazilian Journal of Biology

Print version ISSN 1519-6984On-line version ISSN 1678-4375

Braz. J. Biol. vol.76 no.2 São Carlos Apr./June 2016  Epub Mar 01, 2016 


A new species of Tripartiella (Ciliophora: Trichodinidae) from Aequidens tetramerus (Perciformes: Cichlidae) in north Brazil

Uma nova espécie de Tripartiella (Ciliophora: Trichodinidae) em Aequidens tetramerus no norte do Brasil

M. L. Martinsa  * 

N. Marchiorib 

L. S. Bittencourtc 

M. Tavares-Diasc 

aLaboratório AQUOS-Sanidade de Organismos Aquáticos, Departamento de Aquicultura, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina – UFSC, Rodovia Admar Gonzaga, 1346, CEP 88040-900, Florianópolis, SC, Brazil

bEmpresa de Pesquisa Agropecuária e Extensão Rural de Santa Catarina – EPAGRI, Campo Experimental de Piscicultura de Camboriú, Rua Joaquim Garcia, s/n, CEP 88340-000, Camboriú, SC, Brazil

cLaboratório de Aquicultura e Pesca, Embrapa Amapá, Rodovia Juscelino Kubitschek, Km 5, 2600, CP 10, CEP 68903-419, Macapá, AP, Brazil


A new species of Tripartiella is described from the gills of the wild saddle cichlid Aequidens tetramerus in north Brazil. Wet smears of skin and gills of examined fish were air-dried at room temperature and impregnated with Klein’s dry silver method for examination of the adhesive disc’s structures and denticles. Total prevalence of parasitism was 65%. This ciliate is characterized as a small-sized trichodinid, body diameter 37.03 ± 4.9 μm, adhesive disc 30.50 ± 2.71 μm, denticulate ring 13.28 ± 0.8 μm and 24 ± 2.0 denticles. Taxonomic and morphometric data for the new species are discussed.

Keywords:  fish; protozoan; parasite; trichodinid; morphology


Um nova espécie de Tripartiella encontrada nas brânquias de Aequidens tetramerus da região Norte do Brasil é descrita. Esfregaços de pele e brânquias de peixes examinados foram secos à temperatura ambiente e impregnados pelo método de Klein para observação das estruturas do disco adesivo e dentículos. A prevalência do parasitismo foi de 65%. Este ciliado é caracterizado como pequeno trichodinídeo, com corpo medindo 37,03 ± 4,9 μm de diâmetro, disco adesivo com 30,50 ± 2,71 μm, anel denticulado com 13,28 ± 0,8 μm e 24 ± 2,0 dentículos. Dados taxonômicos e morfométricos para a nova espécie são discutidos.

Palavras-chave:  peixe; protozoário; parasito; tricodinídeo; morfologia

1 Introduction

Trichodinids (Trichodinidae Claus, 1874) are a widely distributed group of ciliated ectoparasites of mollusks, fishes and amphibians (Mitra et al., 2013). Representatives of the genus Tripartiella Lom 1959, however, are only found on the gills of marine and freshwater fish (Tang et al., 2013). Up to now, there is only one Tripartiella species reported in Brazil, which is Tripartiella pseudoplatystomae Pinto, Garcia, Figueiredo, Rodrigues and Martins 2009, parasite of the pintado Pseudoplatystoma corruscans in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, Central-Western Brazil. However, considering the wide variety of fish species in Brazil and the great abundance of fish trichodinids, it is reasonable to accept that much more species are yet to be reported.

The saddle cichlid Aequidens tetramerus (Heckel 1840) (Cichlidae) is endemic to South America and is commonly used as ornamental fish, sport fishing and also as food for the Amazon riverine populations (Tavares-Dias et al., 2014). In course of a parasitological survey of the protozoan parasites of this cichlid in north Brazil, a new Tripartiella species was found.

This study characterizes morphologically Tripartiella tetramerii n.sp. parasite of A. tetramerus from north Brazil. Taxonomic and morphometric data for the new species are discussed.

2 Material and Methods

Sixty-three specimens of A. tetramerus were collected by net in November 2011 in the municipality of Macapá (00° 02’ N, 51° 03’ W), Amapá State, Brazil.

Wet smears of fish skin and gills of collected fish were air-dried and impregnated with Klein’s dry silver method for observation of the adhesive disc as suggested by Lom (1958). The span of the denticle was measured from the tip of blade to the tip of ray as described by Arthur and Lom (1984). The body diameter is the dimension of the adhesive disc plus the border membrane. Wet mounts from the specimens preserved in 5% formalin solution were studied for the observation of adoral ciliature. All measurements are in micrometers and follow the recommendations of Lom (1958) and Van As and Basson (1989). Mean ± standard deviation is followed, in parentheses, by the minimum and maximum values and number of specimens or structures measured.

3 Results

A total of 65% of examined fish were parasitized by the new Tripartiella species (mean intensity of infection: 2,379 ± 1,344 (1,233-3,567)). Morphologically, it is characterized as a small-sized trichodinid, disc shaped. Blade of denticle elongated and straight, narrowing at distal end (Figure 1). Blade greater than ray. Tangent point rounded, lower than distal blade margin. Blade touching Y+1 and Y axes. Anterior blade projection broad, prominent and wide, fitting into indentation of next denticle. Section connecting anterior projection and central part constricted. Central part of the denticle with a remarkable rounded spine directed backwards. Ray slender, lower than blade, straight, rounded in its distal extremity and directed towards the center of the adhesive disc. Central part extends Y+1, Y and Y-1 axes (Figure 2). Adoral ciliature spiral 381°. Morphometrical data is presented in Table 1.

Figure 1 Photomicrographs (a and b) of silver impregnated adhesive discs of Tripartiella tetramerii n. sp. from Aequidens tetramerus in north Brazil. Bar: 10 µm. 

Figure 2 Schematic drawing of the denticles of Tripartiella tetramerii n.sp. from Aequidens tetramerus. 

Table 1 Morphometric comparison of Tripartiella tetramerii n. sp. with Tripartiella pseudoplatystomae and Tripartiella copiosa

Tripartiella tetramerii n.sp.
Present study
Tripartiella pseudoplatystomae
Pinto, Garcia, Figueiredo, Rodrigues and Martins (2009)
Tripartiella copiosa
Lom 1959 in Mohilal and Hemananda (2012)
Host Aequidens tetramerus Pseudoplatystoma corruscans Cirrhinus mrigala
Labeo rohita, Catla catla, Cyprinus carpio
Site of infection Gills Gills Gills
BodyD 37 ± 4.9 (30.0-50.7; 17) 36.2 ± 3.7 (28.0-42.0; 25) 18.65 (15.5-23.5)
Adhesive discD 30.5 ± 2.7 (27.3-37.5; 17) 31.9 ± 3.6 (23.0-36.9; 19) 16.9 (15.0-19.5)
Denticulate ringD 13.2 ± 0.8 (11.8-14.8; 17) 17.3 ± 1.3 (14.0-19.0; 19) 7.85 (6.5-9.0)
Number of denticles 24 (23-25; 13) 29.6 ± 1.2 (27.0-31.0; 24) 22.6 (20-25)
Pins per denticle 4.4 ± 0.6 (4-6; 13) 5.9 ± 1.2 (5-7; 10) 3.4 (3-4)
DenticleL 2.5 ± 0.4 (1.8-3.4; 20) 3.5 ± 0.6 (3.0-4.0; 34) 1.4 (2.5-3.5)
BladeL 7.1 ± 0.4 (6.3-8.0; 20) 5.9 ± 0.8 (4.0-8.0; 35) 4.0 (3.5-4.5)
Central partw 1.2 ± 0.1 (0.9-1.6; 20) 1.4 ± 0.3 (1.0-2.0; 34) 0.7 (0.5-1.0)
RayL 2.0 ± 0.2 (1.5-2.4; 23) 1.6 ± 0.2 (1-2; 34) 1.75 (1.0-2.5)
Span 10.6 ± 0.7 (9.2-11.8; 25) 9.0 ± 1.2 (7.0-12.0; 35) 5.3 (4.5-6.0)

Mean ± standard deviation is followed, in parentheses, by the minimum and maximum values and number of specimens or structures measured. Mean values are given in micrometers. D Diameter, L Length, and w Width.

Taxonomic summary

Type Host: Aequidens tetramerus (Heckel, 1840)

Type locality: Macapá, Amapá State, north Brazil (00º 02’ 20” N, 51º 03’ 59” W)

Site of infection: gills

Etymology: The specific epithet “tetramerii” is derived from the name of the host species.

Reference material: Holotype and paratype slides are deposited in the National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA 006, 007), Manaus, AM, Brazil.

4 Remarks

According to Gong et al. (2005), trichodinids are one of the most common parasitic ciliates that are well characterized by two main features: the morphology of the denticles in the adhesive disc and the development of the adoral ciliary spiral.

Denticles of both Tripartiella and Trichodinella species are wedged together both by central parts and anterior blade projection (Lom and Haldar, 1977). However, whereas in the former genus it bears developed straight rays, the latter possesses short ray curved along the delicate central part.

Concerning to Tripartiella, the type species Tripartiella copiosa Lom, 1959 has been regularly reported on the gills of Cyprinidae and Cobitidae fish throughout the European and Asian continents (Lom and Haldar, 1977; Mitra et al., 2012; Mohilal and Hemananda, 2012). Morphologically, its ray resembles those of T. tetramerii n.sp. (both the species have thin rays, terminating in a rounded point); however, the shape of the blade of T. copiosa (broad, directed backwards) differs completely from the present studied specimens (narrow and straight), besides almost all biometrical data (Table 1).

Tripartiella pseudoplatystomae also shows similarities with T. tetramerii. Their blades are similar in shape, although in T. tetramerii it suffers a narrowing process through its apex (differently from the former, with the same width along the entire length). In addition, anterior blade projection of T. pseudoplatystomae is directed upwards, differently from the new species (Figure 1). Morphometric data between the two also differ in some characters (e.g. denticulate ring and number of denticles, see Table 1). Finally, the tip of ray in T. pseudoplatystomae is thin and pointed while in T. tetramerii it is slender and rounded. All other Tripartiella species differ from the new species in the shape of denticles and, therefore, are not discussed in the present study.


The authors thank CAPES for the Doctoral scholarship to Natalia Marchiori and the research productivity fellowship to Dr. M.L. Martins (CNPq 305869/2014-0) and M. Tavares-Dias (CNPq).

(With 2 figures)


Arthur, J.R. and Lom, J., 1984. Trichodinid protozoa (Ciliophora: Peritrichida) from freshwater fishes of Rybinsk Reservoir, USSR. The Journal of Protozoology, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 82-91. [ Links ]

Gong, Y., Yu, Y., Feng, W. and Shen, Y., 2005. Phylogenetic relationships among Trichodinidae (Ciliophora: Peritrichia) derived from the characteristic values of denticles. Acta Protozoologica, vol. 44, pp. 237-243. [ Links ]

Lom, J. and Haldar, D.P., 1977. Ciliates of the genera and Paratrichodina (Peritrichia Mobilina) invading fish gills. Trichodinella, TripartiellaFolia Parasitologica, vol. 24, pp. 193-210. [ Links ]

Lom, J., 1958. A contribution to the systematics and morphology of endoparasitic trichodinids from amphibians, with a proposal of uniform specific characteristics. The Journal of Protozoology, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 251-263. [ Links ]

Mitra, A.K., Bandyopadhyay, P.K., Gong, Y. and Bhowmik, B., 2012. Occurrence of trichodinid ciliophorans (Ciliophora: Peritrichida) in the freshwater fishes of the river Churni with description of . Trichodina glossogobae sp. nov. in West Bengal, IndiaJournal of Parasitic Diseases, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 34-43. PMid:23542238. [ Links ]

Mitra, A.K., Bandyopadhyay, P.K., Gong, Y., Goswami, M. and Bhowmik, B., 2013. Description of two new species of ectoparasitic Trichodina Ehrenberg, 1830 (Ciliophora: Trichodinidae) from freshwater fishes in the river of Ganges, India. Journal of Parasitic Diseases, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 35-41. PMid:24431538. [ Links ]

Mohilal, N. and Hemananda, T., 2012. Record of the species of . Tripartiella (Lom, 1959) from fishes of ManipurJournal of Parasitic Diseases, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 87-93. PMid:23542123. [ Links ]

Tang, F., Zhao, Y. and Liu, C., 2013. First records of three species (Ciliophora, Oligohymenophora, Peritrichida) from freshwater fishes along Yangtze River in China. TripartiellaZootaxa, vol. 3681, no. 2, pp. 169-174. PMid:25232597. [ Links ]

Tavares-Dias, M., Oliveira, M.S.B., Gonçalves, R.A. and Silva, L.M., 2014. Ecology and seasonal variation of parasites in wild . Aequidens tetramerus, a Cichlidae from the AmazonActa Parasitologica, vol. 59, no. 1, pp. 158-164. PMid:24570063. [ Links ]

Van As, J.G. and Basson, L., 1989. A further contribution to the taxonomy of the Trichodinidae (Ciliophora: Peritrichia) and a review of the taxonomic status of some fish ectoparasitic trichodinids. Systematic Parasitology, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 157-179. [ Links ]

Received: September 11, 2014; Accepted: March 16, 2015

Creative Commons License This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.