Acanthocephalans from Australian elasmobranchs (Chondrichthyes) with a description of a new species in the genus Gorgorhynchus Chandler, 1934 (Rhadinorhynchidae)

Gorgorhynchus occultus n. sp. is described from Sutorectus tentaculatus (Peters) (Orectolobidae) collected off Bunbury, Western Australia in 1986. The new species differs from all other species of Gorgorhynchus Chandler, 1934 by having a suite of characters including a proboscis hook formula of 18–20 rows of 8–9 hooks, a well-developed neck, irregular circles of small spines in a single anterior field, the male reproductive system limited to the posterior quarter of the trunk and three cement glands. In a survey of 284 sharks collected between 2015 and 2018 from 10 localities in Australian waters, 11 individuals were infected with acanthocephalan cystacanths. One individual of Sphyrna mokarran (Rupell) (Sphyrnidae) was infected with Corynosoma cetaceum Johnston & Best, 1931. Serrasentis sagittifer (Linton, 1889) (Rhadinorhynchidae) was found in five individuals of S. mokarran, four individuals of Syphyrna lewini (Griffith & Smith) and one individual of Carcharhinus coatesi (Whitley) (Carcharhinidae). These infections may be accidental because it has been suggested that acanthocephalans cannot tolerate the high levels of urea used by marine and esturine elasmobranchs for osmoregulation. The two most common host species examined, S. mokarran and S. lewini had the highest intensities and prevalences of infection with S. sagittifer. Although more individuals of S. lewini were examined, S. mokarran had the higher prevalence of infection.

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