Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Diagnosis of Centrocestus formosanus infection in Zebrafish (Danio rerio) in Italy: a window to a new globalization-derived invasive microorganism.

Abstract

Centrocestus formosanus is a digenetic trematode with a complex life cycle, involving invertebrate and vertebrate hosts, humans included. In particular, it causes gill lesions and mortality in freshwater fish species, and gastrointestinal symptoms in infected humans. Here, we describe the occurrence of C. formosanus infection in zebrafish imported in Italy and propose a newly designed species-specific primer pair to ameliorate the diagnostic investigations for C. formosanus. Gill arches of 30 zebrafish were examined for the presence of encysted metacercariae under a stereomicroscope and processed through molecular analyses targeting the ribosomal internal transcribed sequence 2 (ITS2). Although C. formosanus distribution was originally restricted to Asia, it has been subsequently reported in new countries, revealing itself as an invasive species and raising important concerns for biodiversity, economy, scientific research, as well as animal and public health. Given the crucial role played by the ornamental fish industry in spreading this parasite, there is an urgent need for control measures to prevent the introduction and establishment of C. formosanus in non-endemic areas, including Europe. We also suggest developing new strategies in microbiology and epidemiology to better explore this new globalization-derived invasive species.