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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 148:167-181 (2022)  -  DOI:

High prevalence of Paramarteilia canceri infecting velvet swimming crabs Necora puber in Ireland

Evelyn Collins1, Georgia M. Ward2,3, Kelly S. Bateman3,4, Deborah L. Cheslett1,*, Chantelle Hooper3,4, Stephen W. Feist3,4, Joseph E. Ironside5, Teresa Morrissey1, Ciar O’Toole1, Oliver Tully1, Stuart H. Ross3,4, Grant D. Stentiford3,4, Fiona Swords1, Ander Urrutia3, David Bass2,3,4

1Marine Institute, Rinville, Oranmore H91 R673, Ireland
2Department of Life Sciences, The Natural History Museum, London SW7 5BD, UK
3International Centre of Excellence in Aquatic Animal Health, Centre for Environment, Aquaculture and Fisheries Science, Weymouth DT4 8UB, UK
4Sustainable Aquaculture Futures, Biosciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter EX4 4QD, UK
5Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences (IBERS), Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth SY23 3DA, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The velvet swimming crab Necora puber has been fished in Ireland since the early 1980s and contributes significant income to smaller fishing vessels. From 2016 onwards, reduced landings have been reported. We undertook a full pathological investigation of crabs from fishing grounds at 3 sites on the west (Galway), southwest (Castletownbere) and east (Howth) coasts of Ireland. Histopathology, transmission electron microscopy and molecular taxonomic and phylogenetic analyses showed high prevalence and infection level of Paramarteilia canceri, previously only reported from the edible crab Cancer pagurus. This study provides the first molecular data for P. canceri, and shows its phylogenetic position in the order Paramyxida (Rhizaria). Other parasites and symbionts detected in the crabs were also noted, including widespread but low co-infection with Hematodinium sp. and a microsporidian consistent with the Ameson and Nadelspora genera. This is the first histological record of Hematodinium sp. in velvet crabs from Ireland. Four N. puber individuals across 2 sites were co-infected by P. canceri and Hematodinium sp. At one site, 3 velvet crabs infected with P. canceri were co-infected with the first microsporidian recorded from this host; the microsporidian 18S sequence was almost identical to Ameson pulvis, known to infect European shore crabs Carcinus maenas. The study provides a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of this and all other available Ameson and Nadelspora 18S sequences. Together, these findings provide a baseline for further investigations of N. puber populations along the coast of Ireland.

KEY WORDS: Paramarteilia orchestiae · Paramyxida · Cancer pagurus · Hematodinium · Microsporidia · Ameson pulvis · Amphipod · Crab

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Cite this article as: Collins E, Ward GM, Bateman KS, Cheslett DL and others (2022) High prevalence of Paramarteilia canceri infecting velvet swimming crabs Necora puber in Ireland. Dis Aquat Org 148:167-181.

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