Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Lifestyle of a Killer: In Wild European Brown Shrimp, Parasitic Dinoflagellates Have Bacteria-Like Endosymbionts

ScienceDaily (Sep. 7, 2012) — Parasitic dinoflagellates of the genus Hematodinium are a big problem for crab, prawn and shrimp fisheries across the world. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Aquatic Biosystems has found that, in wild European brown shrimp (Crangon crangon), these parasites have bacteria-like endosymbionts. The presence of these endosymbionts indicates a previously unknown side to the lifecycle of Hematodinium.

Hematodinium sp. and its sister species H. Perezi are a real problem for blue crab fishers , causing 'bitter crab' disease, and are thought to be responsible for the decline of blue crabs in Chesapeake Bay. But they are not fussy. Over 40 species of crustaceans are known to be infected by these nasty parasites.

A collaboration between researchers at the European Union Reference Laboratory for Crustacean Diseases (CEFAS) and the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences (VIMS) identified the parasite responsible for causing sickness in wild European brown shrimp, collected from the North Sea, as Hematodinium sp.. These shrimp had lost carapace transparency and their blood (haemolymph) had lost the ability to clot. The invading Hematodinium had also infiltrated the muscles, destroyed internal organs, and the infection had damaged the shrimp's ovaries, affecting their ability to reproduce. Adding insult to injury the shrimp were also infected with Crangon crangon bacilliform virus (CcBV).

Read on:
  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120906203351.htm

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