New species of fish parasite named after Xena, the warrior princess

New species of fish parasite named after Xena, the warrior princess
Egg-carrying female of the new to science species Elthusa xena (holotype). Credit: Serita van der Wal

A study of parasitic crustaceans attaching themselves inside the branchial cavities (the gills) of their fish hosts was recently conducted in order to reveal potentially unrecognised diversity of the genus Elthusa in South Africa.

While there had only been one species known from the country, a new article published in the open-access journal ZooKeys adds another three to the list.

For one of them, the research team from North-West University (South Africa): Serita van der Wal, Prof Nico Smit and Dr. Kerry Hadfield, chose the name of the fictional character Xena, the warrior princess. The reason was that the females appeared particularly tough with their characteristic elongated and ovoid bodies. Additionally, the holotype (the first specimen used for the identification and description of the previously ) is an egg-carrying female.

Formally recognised as Elthusa xena, this new to science species is so far only known from the mouth of the Orange River, Alexander Bay, South Africa (Atlantic Ocean). It is also the only Elthusa species known to parasitise the intertidal Super klipfish (Clinus supercilious). In fact, this is the first time an Elthusa species has been recorded from any klipfish (genus Clinus).

To describe the new , the scientists loaned all South African specimens identified as, or appearing to belong to the genus Elthusa from both the French National Museum of Natural History (Paris) and the Iziko South African Museum (Cape Town).

New species of fish parasite named after Xena, the warrior princess
Intermoult male of the new to science species Elthusa xena (paratype). This male is mid-moult, meaning it is in the process of moulting with the larger, posterior end already moulted. Credit: Serita van der Wal

Explore further

Total of 21 new parasitoid wasps following the first ever revision of their genus

More information: Serita van der Wal et al, Review of the fish parasitic genus Elthusa Schioedte & Meinert, 1884 (Crustacea, Isopoda, Cymothoidae) from South Africa, including the description of three new species, ZooKeys (2019). DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.841.32364
Journal information: ZooKeys

Provided by Pensoft Publishers
Citation: New species of fish parasite named after Xena, the warrior princess (2019, May 7) retrieved 20 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-species-fish-parasite-xena-warrior.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
12 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more