Alternate Title

Variations in the Ventral Ciliature of the Crustacean Symbiont Hyalophysa (Ciliophora, Apostomatida) from Mobile Bay and Dauphin Island, Alabama

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Apostome ciliates are symbiotic organisms whose life cycles are complex and involve specific feeding, divisional, migratory, and phoretic stages. In this study we examined apostome trophonts (the diagnostic stage) from a variety of crustacean hosts in the Mobile Bay and Dauphin Island, Alabama, area. The hosts were grass shrimp (Palaemonetes pugio and P. paludosus), striped hermit crab (Clibanarius vittatus), blue crab (Callinectes sapidus), and pink shrimp (Farfantepenaeus (=Penaeus) duorarum). A number of similar but distinct morphotypes of apostomes were present, those corresponding to descriptions of species of Hyalophysa as well as variant forms. The morphotypes observed in this study had the following characteristics: variations in the formation of the anterior ventral field of kinetosomes from falciform field 9; variations in the degree to which ciliary row 1 (kinety 1) was separated into 2 segments; and variations in the development of kinety a. A record of the variant morphotypes that do not correspond exactly to an established species should prove useful to biologists attempting to identify apostomes from crustacean molts. We choose not to name the variant forms as new species because they exist as different morphotypes within a population of cells, because some of these types occur in low frequency, and because one of the variant forms changes from one morphotype to another.

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