Description of Acanthocephalus rhinensis n. sp. (Acanthocephala: Echinorhynchidae) from the European eel, Anguilla anguilla, in Germany, with a key to species of Acanthocephalus in Europe.
Acanthocephalus rhinensis n. sp. is described from the European eel, Anguilla anguilla (Linnaeus, 1758), collected in the Rhine River near the city of Karlsruhe, Germany. It is the sixth species of Acanthocephalus Koelreuther, 1771 described from European fish. Four other species are known from amphibians. The new species is distinguished from the other 5 species infecting fish by having a 1.2-mm-long proboscis armed with 15–21 rows of 13–16 hooks each, lemnisci about as long as receptacle, oblong and slightly pre-equatorial testes, and thin fusiform eggs measuring 85–95 × 15–18 μ. Testes in the other European species are usually round to ovate, except in Ac. anguillae (Müller, 1780) Lühe, 1911 where they are also elongated but postequatorial. It also has an orange-brown belt encircling the anterior end of the trunk. The comparative distribution of Acanthocephalus in Europe and North America, and the validity of 2 presumably questionable species are discussed, Acanthocephalus falcatus (Froelich, 1789) Lühe, 1911 and Ac. paronai (Cendorelli, 1897) Meyer, 1932. A dichotomus key distinguishing Ac. rhinensis from the other 9 European species is also included. The new species was only found in 3 of 390 eels examined during 11 yr; this may be related to the changing benthos community in the Rhine River.
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