Saturday, August 13, 2016

The secret life of the Enenteridae: new species and unknown life-cycles

I was recently awarded a small scholarship through the University of Queensland's Moreton Bay Research Station in partnership with Sibelco Australia. The scholarship is intended to support my research in the waters of Moreton Bay on a little known family of digenetic trematodes called the Enenteridae.

With few exceptions, the sexually mature stages of species of the family Enenteridae parasitize only one host group, marine fishes of the family Kyphosidae (the drummers or sea chubs).  I've discovered a few new species of the genus Enenterum from kyphosids in Moreton Bay, and am currently in the process of describing them.

A selection of illustrations of species of the family Enenteridae. Illustrations from Bray & Cribb, (2002) and Bray (2005).

The scholarship is also intended to fund an additional project, elucidation of the first life-cycle of an enenterid.  This will be the real challenge, as a first intermediate host for the family has never been discovered.  I have a few leads to follow up on, but I'm still going to need a lucky break!

Bray, R.A., & Cribb, T.H. (2002). Further observations on the Enenteridae Yamaguti, 1958 (Digenea, Lepocreadioidea) of the Indo-West Pacific region, including a new species from Western Australia. Acta Parasitologica, 47, 208-223.

Bray, R.A. (2005). Family Enenteridae Yamaguti, 1958. In: (Eds. A. Jones, R.A. Bray and D.I. Gibson) Keys to the Trematoda. Volume 2. Wallingford, CABI Publishing and the Natural History Museum, pp. 657-661.

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