DAO 43:127-137 (2000)  -  doi:10.3354/dao043127

Luminous vibriosis in rock lobster Jasus verreauxi (Decapoda: Palinuridae) phyllosoma larvae associated with infection by Vibrio harveyi

B. K. Diggles1,*, G. A. Moss1, J. Carson2, C. D. Anderson3

1National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd., PO Box 14-901, Kilbirnie, Wellington, New Zealand
2Department of Primary Industries, Water & Environment, PO Box 46, Kings Meadows, Launceston, Tasmania 7249, Australia

3National Centre for Disease Investigation, Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry, PO Box 40742, Upper Hutt, New Zealand

ABSTRACT: Studies were conducted to determine the cause of outbreaks of luminous vibriosis in phyllosoma larvae of the packhorse rock lobster Jasus verreauxi reared in an experimental culture facility. On 2 separate occasions mortalities of up to 75% over a period of 4 wk were observed in 4th to 5th and 8th to 10th instar phyllosomas at water temperatures of 20 and 23°C, respectively. Affected larvae became opaque, exhibited small red spots throughout the body and pereiopods, and were faintly luminous when viewed in the dark. Histopathology showed that the gut and hepatopancreas tubules of moribund phyllosomas contained massive bacterial plaques. The hepatopancreas tubules of moribund larvae were atrophic and some contained necrotic cells sloughed into the lumen. Dense, pure cultures of a bacterium identified as Vibrio harveyi were isolated from moribund larvae. The disease syndrome was reproduced by in vivo challenge and V. harveyi was successfully reisolated from diseased larvae after apparently healthy larvae were exposed by immersion to baths of more than 104 V. harveyi ml-1 at 24°C. Injured larvae were more susceptible to infection than were healthy larvae. Survival of larvae experimentally and naturally exposed to V. harveyi was improved when antibiotics were administered via bath exposures.

KEY WORDS: Spiny lobsters · Crustacea · Mariculture · Disease · Vibrio · New Zealand

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