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The genus Cardicola Short, 1953 has the highest number of species within the family Aporocotylidae (Trematoda: Digenea). Five Cardicola species have been reported to date in the Mediterranean Sea, one of them in the gilthead seabream Sparus aurata L. Analyses of infected S. aurata recovered from cultured fish off Sardinia (Italy) and from wild and cultured fish off the Levantine coast (Southeastern Spain) have revealed the presence of two species identified as Cardicola aurata Holzer, Montero, Repullés, Nolan, Sitjà-Bobadilla, Álvarez-Pellitero, Zarza and Raga, 2008 and Cardicola mediterraneus n. sp.. New morphological and molecular data are provided for both species. Features of C. aurata specimens differ slightly from those of the original description of the species, the most important differences being the longer extension of the metraterm and the central and posterior position of the female genital pore. Cardicola mediterraneus n. sp. can be easily distinguished from other Cardicola species by two unique specific characters: (i) the very unequal posterior caeca length and (ii) the shape of the testis, deeply notched at the anterior extremity. Cardicola spp. from sparids occupy a basal phylogenetic position respect the other congeneric species. The genus Cardicola has a complex taxonomy and shows high intrageneric differences for both 28S and ITS2 rDNAs, similar to the intergeneric differences among other aporocotylid genera, suggesting that it could be split. The presence of two Cardicola species could hamper treatment design and application; thus, data discriminating species herein reported can improve the infection management in fish farms.


Jose Palacios-Abella, Francisco E Montero, Paolo Merella, Salvatore Mele, Juan Antonio Raga, Aigües Repullés-Albelda. Cardicola mediterraneus n. sp. (Trematoda, Aporocotylidae): a new species infecting the gilthead seabream, Sparus aurata L., from the Western Mediterranean Sea. Parasitology research. 2021 Jun;120(6):1949-1963

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PMID: 33884492

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