DAO 43:159-173 (2000)  -  doi:10.3354/dao043159

Diseases of the eye of farmed shrimp Penaeus monodon

Paul T. Smith*

Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture, University of Western Sydney, PO Box 555, Campbelltown, New South Wales 2560, Australia

ABSTRACT: Lesions were found in the eyes of cultured shrimp Penaeus monodon that displayed non-specific signs of disease, including lethargy, dark pigmentation, brown gills, empty midgut, anorexia, white tail muscle, necrosis of uropods and fouled cuticle. Eye lesions were associated with sexual development in moribund shrimp in at least 1 disease event. Suppurative inflammation, granuloma and malacia were observed in histological examination of the eye and the causative agents of lesions appear to be Vibrio spp. and a rod-shaped virus (similar to Lymphoid Organ Virus, Gill-Associated Virus [GAV] and Yellow-Head Virus). Suppurative inflammation was characterised by edema, infiltration of haemocytes and local sites of abscesses. Eyes with granuloma usually appeared white in pond-side examinations, and histology showed that fibrous tissue replaced ommatidia, ganglia and internal structures of the eye. Malacia of the eye was characterised by necrosis of nervous tissue, vacuolation and vascular proliferation in the medulla ganglia. Levels of presumptive Vibrionaceace were high in moribund specimens and Gram-negative rods were observed in some specimens as free particles in the interstitial fluid and haemolymph in the eye. Transmission electron microscopy showed that nerve cells in the fasciculated zone (near the basement membrane) contained cytoplasmic vesicles (1 to 3 µm in diameter) with particles (15 to 26 nm in diameter) and rod-shaped nucleocapsids. The rods were similar to those of GAV and were 130 to 260 nm long, 10 to 16 nm in diameter and had helical symmetry with a screw-like thread (2.4 to 3.5 nm pitch). Also, unidentified enveloped virions, averaging 74 nm in diameter, were observed in cytoplasmic vesicles in the fasciculated zone. In conclusion, it is suggested that bacterial and viral infections of the eye could result in impaired neuroendocrine functions, which may cause a range of clinical signs of disease.

KEY WORDS: Prawn · Shrimp · Penaeus monodon · Eye · Neurosecretion · Virus · Bacteria · Vibrio spp.

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