The Amazon basin has one of the highest concentrations of known aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity in the world and more species are described each year. However little or nothing is known about the species of microscopic cnidarians existing in this region. The Cnidaria phylum groups exclusively aquatic organisms that are widely recognized for their ecological, evolutionary, economic importance and their contributions to the quality of life. It is now recognized that a clade of cnidarians diverged from their free-living ancestors to become microscopic endoparasites with complex life cycles that alternate between invertebrate and vertebrate hosts. Today these animals comprise the group called Myxozoa and are recognized as a group of considerable ecological, economic and even medical importance, besides being of evolutionary interest. As a function of growing demand of the aquatic pet trade, the risk of transboundary spread of several pathogens has increased in the last years. Nowadays, the aquarium trade industry moves millions of fishes around the world each year and besides, the global connectivity has raised with shorter transportation times, thus favoring that even parasites arrive viable to new regions, in some cases causing pathological changes and mortalities. In this scenario, microscopic cnidarians survey on ornamental fishes become important for diagnosis and timely control to prevent that these parasites may be introduced and disseminated to foreign locations. However, information about microscopic cnidarians species that infect ornamental fishes is still scarce, particularly from the Amazon basin, considering that in this region there is a great diversity, being many species native and endemic. This project aims to evaluate the diversity, phylogenetic relationships and interaction of microscopic cnidarians with their hosts: ornamental fish of economic importance to the international ornamental fish industry from the families Callichthyidae e Characidae. For this purpose, morphological, ultrastructural, histopathological analyses, combined with the modern tools of molecular phylogenetics, ultrastructural and confocal laser scanning microscopy will be performed to satisfactorily reach all the objectives proposed in this study.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: