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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 150:1-16 (2022)  -  DOI:

Amoebic crab disease (ACD) in edible crab Cancer pagurus from the English Channel, UK

K. S. Bateman1,2,*, G. D. Stentiford1,2, R. Kerr1,2, C. Hooper1,2, P. White1, M. Edwards1, S. Ross1, R. Hazelgrove1, C. Daumich1, M. J. Green1, D. Ivory1, C. Evans1, D. Bass1,2,3

1International Centre of Excellence for Aquatic Animal Health, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), Barrack Road, The Nothe, Weymouth DT4 8UB, UK
2Sustainable Aquaculture Futures, Biosciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter EX4 4QD, UK
3Department of Life Sciences, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The genera Paramoeba and Neoparamoeba (Amoebozoa, Dactylopodida, Paramoebidae) include well-known opportunistic pathogens associated with fish (N. peruans; amoebic gill disease), lobsters, molluscs and sea urchins, but only rarely with crabs (grey crab disease of blue crabs). Following reports of elevated post-capture mortality in edible crabs Cancer pagurus captured from a site within the English Channel fishery in the UK, a novel disease (amoebic crab disease, ACD) was detected in significant proportions of the catch. We present histopathological, transmission electron microscopy and molecular phylogenetic data, showing that this disease is defined by colonization of haemolymph, connective tissues and fixed phagocytes by amoeboid cells, leading to tissue destruction and presumably death in severely diseased hosts. The pathology was strongly associated with a novel amoeba with a phylogenetic position on 18S rRNA gene trees robustly sister to Janickina pigmentifera (which groups within the current circumscription of Paramoeba/Neoparamoeba), herein described as Janickina feisti n. sp. We provide evidence that J. feisti is associated with ACD in 50% of C. pagurus sampled from the mortality event. A diversity of other paramoebid sequence types, clustering with known radiations of N. pemaquidensis and N. aestuarina and a novel N. aestuarina sequence type, was detected by PCR in most of the crabs investigated, but their detection was much less strongly associated with clinical signs of disease. The discovery of ACD in edible crabs from the UK is discussed relative to published historical health surveys for this species.

KEY WORDS: Paramoeba · Neoparamoeba · Paramoebiasis · Cancer pagurus · Janickina feisti · Amoebic crab disease · ACD

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Cite this article as: Bateman KS, Stentiford GD, Kerr R, Hooper C and others (2022) Amoebic crab disease (ACD) in edible crab Cancer pagurus from the English Channel, UK. Dis Aquat Org 150:1-16.

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