Postinfection Mortality of Palaemonetes spp (Decapoda, Palaemonidae) Following Experimental Exposure to the Bopyrid Isopod Probopyrus-Pandalicola (Packard) (Isopoda, Epicaridea)

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Biological Sciences


Of 558 Palaemonetes spp. exposed to infective cryptoniscus larvae of Probopyrus pandalicola, 364 became infected (most within 24 h after exposure). Larvae of Probopyrus pandalicola are host specific (permanent infections leading to parasite maturation resulted when Palaemonetes pugio was exposed but only temporary infections or host death resulted when Palaemonetes vulgaris was used). Parasite success was also dependent on host age: young hosts of both species became infected more readily than older ones. Parasites typically are endoparasitic for up to 2 weeks after infection, later becoming ecto- parasitic in the branchial chamber. However, the endoparasitic stage is unnecessary for parasite larvae infecting hosts already harboring a female bopyridium within the branchial chamber. Often, loss of parasites from hosts or movements of parasites after infection (i.e., during the transition from endoparasitism to ectoparasitism or during movement from one branchial chamber to the other) occurred at host ecdysis. The mortality rate of experimentally infected hosts is high during the parasite's endoparasitic stage which lasts from 1-2 weeks. However, the mortality rate 5 weeks after infection is near that of uninfected shrimp. Although my results suggest that parasites were distributed at random among shrimp in exposure vessels, further studies of parasite distribution using larger experimental host popu- lations are warranted.

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Journal of Crustacean Biology





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