Attempted Post Molting Horizontal Transmission of the Microsporidia Parasite Cougourde//a sp. Among the Caddisfly G/ossosoma nigrior
Kamm, Jonathan M.
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The caddisfly Glossosoma nigrior plays an essential role in stream ecology by helping to regulate different trophic interactions by maintaining periphyton levels. It is a dominant grazer in the cold water stream environment and can help dictate population dynamics of many other important cold water stream species. Recently, it has been discovered that Glossosoma, is host to a lethal microsporidia fungal parasite, Cougourdella sp. Transmission of Cougourdella could occur horizontally, via the ingestion of spores, or vertically via the passing of infection during prenatal care. Attempts have been made to study the methods of transmission of Cougourdella sp. among Glossosoma using both of these strategies, however the current transmission method remains unknown. Viable Cougourdella sp. spores were mixed with a typical algal diet and fed to Glossosoma after molting to test the hypothesis that Glossosoma are susceptible to the pathogen during a post molting feeding time via horizontal transmission. Visual results using microscopy showed that infection did not occur in any Glossosoma individual, and a select sampling of peR and DNA analysis confirmed this. It is possible that Cougourdella sp. may require an intermediate host in order to successfully complete its lifecycle in Glossosoma.