Henneguya salminicola

Scientists have discovered that the parasitic animal, Henneguya salminicola, doesn’t require oxygen for survival. This makes it the only known animal to be capable of living in anaerobic environment.

  • What is Henneguya salminicola?

Henneguya salminicola is a parasitic animal that is less than 10 celled. It is related to corals and jellyfish. It is a microscopic member of the Myxozoa group. It is currently the only known animal that doesn’t require oxygen for survival.

  • Where does Henneguya salminicola live?

It is a parasitic animal that infects salmons and worms that are preyed upon by the salmons. When the host animal dies, the Henneguya releases spores that are ingested by worms. The worms are also hosts for these microscopic parasites. When salmons consume these worms, they are also infected.

  • Does it possess mitochondrial DNA?

Unlike other animals, the Henneguya does not possess mitochondrial DNA. Though it has structures resembling mitochondria, they do not produce the necessary enzymes for functioning. The scientists say that the Henneguya has de-evolved to adapt to an anaerobic environment.

  • What is the purpose of mitochondria in animals?

Mitochondria in animal cells are known as the ‘power house of the cell’. These are the sites of cellular respiration. Mitochondrial respiration is a common character of all multicellular animals. In mitochondrial respiration, oxygen is used to produce ATP molecules which then power cellular processes.

  • What is ‘tapioca disease’ of salmons?

The Henneguya salminicola causes the tapioca disease in salmons. It is also called ‘milky flesh disease’. The disease causes the formation of cysts in the flesh of the fish. It is generally harmless to the fish and also to the humans. It is detected from the presence of white, oozing bubbles in the flesh.


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