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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

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AEI 10:429-436 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00280

Cleaner shrimp remove parasite eggs on fish cages

David B. Vaughan1,*, Alexandra S. Grutter2, Kate S. Hutson1

1Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture, College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University, Townsville QLD 4811, Australia
2School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Benthic stages of cultured fishes’ ectoparasites are a major contributor to persistent reinfections in aquaculture. These stages are resistant to chemical therapies and are costly to manage in terms of time and labour. Cleaner shrimp, unlike cleaner fishes, prey on benthic stages, suggesting they have the potential to reduce parasite reinfection pressure without having to be in direct contact with the client fish. Cleaner shrimp have never been used as biocontrols in commercial aquaculture, but offer an advantage over cleaner fishes in that they are not susceptible to the ectoparasites of their clients. We present the first investigation of a cultured cleaner shrimp, Lysmata vittata, as a biocontrol agent against the eggs of the economically important cosmopolitan ectoparasite Neobenedenia girellae infecting cultured juvenile grouper, Epinephelus lanceolatus, under simulated recirculating aquaculture conditions. L. vittata removed the eggs of N. girellae entangled on the mesh of the culture cages and significantly reduced N. girellae recruitment to fish by ~87%. Our results demonstrate the value of cleaner shrimp in addressing ectoparasite problems and highlight the importance of investigating novel biocontrol strategies in aquaculture.


KEY WORDS: Biocontrol · Cleaner shrimp · Lysmata vittata · Aquaculture · Ectoparasites


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Cite this article as: Vaughan DB, Grutter AS, Hutson KS (2018) Cleaner shrimp remove parasite eggs on fish cages. Aquacult Environ Interact 10:429-436. https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00280

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