Occurrence of Terranova larval types (Nematoda: Anisakidae) in Australian marine fish with comments on their specific identities

Shokoofeh Shamsi, Jaydipbhai Suthar

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Pseudoterranovosis is a well-known human disease caused by anisakid larvae belonging to the genus Pseudoterranova. Human infection occurs after consuming infected fish. Hence the presence of Pseudoterranova larvae in the flesh of the fish can cause serious losses and problems for the seafood, fishing and fisheries industries. The accurate identification of Pseudoterranova larvae in fish is important, but challenging because the larval stages of a number of different genera, including Pseudoterranova, Terranova and Pulchrascaris, look similar and cannot be differentiated from each other using morphological criteria, hence they are all referred to as Terranova larval type. Given that Terranova larval types in seafood are not necessarily Pseudoterranova and may not be dangerous, the aim of the present study was to investigate the occurrence of Terranova larval types in Australian marine fish and to determine their specific identity. A total of 137 fish belonging to 45 species were examined. Terranova larval types were found in 13 species, some of which were popular edible fish in Australia. The sequences of the first and second internal transcribed spacers (ITS-1 and ITS-2 respectively) of the Terranova larvae in the present study showed a high degree of similarity suggesting that they all belong to the same species. Due to the lack of a comparable sequence data of a well identified adult in the GenBank database the specific identity of Terranova larval type in the present study remains unknown. The sequence of the ITS regions of the Terranova larval type in the present study and those of Pseudoterranova spp. available in GenBank are significantly different, suggesting that larvae found in the present study do not belong to the genus Pseudoterranova, which is zoonotic. This study does not rule out the presence of Pseudoterranova larvae in Australian fish as Pseudoterranova decipiens E has been reported in adult form from seals in Antarctica and it is known that they have seasonal presence in Australian southern coasts. The genetic distinction of Terranova larval type in the present study from Pseudoterranova spp. along with the presence of more species of elasmobranchs in Australian waters (definitive hosts of Terranova spp. and Pulchrascaris spp.) than seals (definitive hosts of Pseudoterranova spp.) suggest that Terranova larval type in the present study belong to either genus Terranova or Pulchrascaris, which are not known to cause disease in humans. The present study provides essential information that could be helpful to identify Australian Terranova larval types in future studies. Examination and characterisation of further specimens, especially adults of Terranova and Pulchrascaris, is necessary to fully elucidate the identity of these larvae.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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