Trichodina modesta: an exotic ciliate in the Neotropical region parasitizing an unusual host
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In this study, an important ornamental fish, Betta splendens (Osphronemidae), from three different Brazilian states was examined for parasitic infestations. Smears with parasites were impregnated with silver nitrate or stained using Giemsa for taxonomic evaluation. A disc-shaped trichodinid with a body diameter of 39.7 +/- 3.3 mu m, adhesive disc diameter of 32.9 +/- 3.1 mu m and denticulate ring diameter of 19.5 +/- 2.0 mu m was found. The morphological characteristics resembled those of Trichodina modesta Lom, 1970, a species that shows clear host specificity for Cypriniformes. Until now, its occurrence was restricted to the Eurasian region. In the present study, a new host for T. modesta is reported and therefore the first occurrence of this species in the Americas. The parasite was possibly introduced into the Neotropical region through the exotic fish trade, especially of Cypriniformes used by aquarists. The distribution of this ciliate is discussed and a checklist of localities and hosts for the species is provided.