Hepatic Calyptospora sp. (Apicomplexa) infection in a wild-born, aquarium-held clutch of juvenile arapaima Arapaima gigas (Osteoglossidae)

Christopher J. Bonar, Sarah L. Poynton, F. Yvonne Schulman, Randall L. Rietcheck, Michael M. Garner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


From Manaus, Brazil, 12 juvenile arapaima Arapaima gigas were imported to the United States and sent to 2 public aquaria, 1 private hobbyist, and 1 retailer. All 12 fish became ill within 4 to 6 wk of arrival, with signs of anorexia, lethargy, depigmentation, and ascites, and subsequently died despite antibiotic and anthelminthic therapy. Gross necropsies of 7 fish revealed serosanguinous coelomic effusion in all 7 fish, and branchial monogeneosis in 3 of 6 fish. The monogeneans from 1 fish were identified as Dawestrema cycloancistrium (Ancyrocephalinae). Histologic examination of 7 fish showed a variety of lesions, principally in the liver, gills, brain and gastro-intestinal tract. Numerous coccidian oocysts replaced 15 to 33 % of the liver parenchyma in 6 of 7 fish examined. Light and transmission electron microscopy revealed that each oocyst contained 4 pyriform sporocysts bearing numerous sporopodia on their tapering, posterior end; approximately 25 to 30 % of the length of the sporocyst was adorned. Each sporocyst was covered by a thin, membranous veil, contained 2 sporozoites, and stained brilliant pink with the Ziehl-Neelsen acid-fast method. This morphology is consistent with that of Calyptospora sp. (Lack of fresh material precluded determination to species.) This is the first report of Calyptospora sp. in arapaima. The Calyptospora sp. infection probably contributed to the morbidity and mortality of the captive arapaima.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-92
Number of pages12
JournalDiseases of Aquatic Organisms
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 12 2006


  • Arapaima gigas
  • Branchitis
  • Calyptospora
  • Dawestrema
  • Liver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science

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