Phytomyxea are obligate endoparasites of angiosperm plants and Stramenopiles characterised by a complex life cycle. Here Maullinia braseltonii sp. nov., an obligate parasite infecting the bull kelp Durvillaea (Phaeophyceae, Fucales) from the South-Eastern Pacific (Central Chile and Chiloe Island) and South-Western Atlantic (Falkland Islands, UK) is described. M. braseltonii causes distinct hypertrophies (galls) on the host thalli making it easily identifiable in the field. Sequence comparisons based on the partial 18S and the partial 18S-5.8S-28S regions confirmed its placement within the order Phagomyxida (Phytomyxea, Rhizaria), as a sister species of the marine parasite Maullinia ectocarpii, which is also a parasite of brown algae. The development of resting spores in M. braseltonii is described by light and electron microscopy and confirmed by FISH experiments, which visually showed the differential expression of the 28S non-coding gene, strongly in early plasmodia and weakly in late cysts. M. braseltonii is, so far, the only phytomyxean parasite of brown algae for which the formation of resting spores has been reported, and which is widely distributed in Durvillaea stocks from the Southeastern Pacific and Southwestern Atlantic.
- brown algae
- resting spores