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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 80:95-104 (2008)  -  DOI:

Prevalence of Panulirus argus Virus 1 (PaV1) and habitation patterns of healthy and diseased Caribbean spiny lobsters in shelter-limited habitats

Enrique Lozano-Álvarez1,*, Patricia Briones-Fourzán1, Aurora Ramírez-Estévez2, David Placencia-Sánchez1, Juan Pablo Huchin-Mian3, Rossana Rodríguez-Canul3

1Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Unidad Académica Puerto Morelos, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Prol. Av. Niños Héroes s/n, Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, 77580 Mexico
2Centro Regional de Investigación Pesquera–Puerto Morelos, Instituto Nacional de la Pesca, Prol. Av. Niños Héroes, Calle Matamoros esq. Hidalgo No. 7, Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, 77580 Mexico
3Laboratorio de Inmunología y Biología Molecular, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados–Unidad Mérida, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Km 6 Carretera Antigua a Progreso, Cordemex, Mérida, Yucatán, 97310 Mexico

ABSTRACT: Caribbean spiny lobsters Panulirus argus are socially gregarious, preferring shelters harboring conspecifics over empty shelters. In laboratory trials, however, healthy lobsters strongly avoided shelters harboring lobsters infected with the highly pathogenic Panulirus argus Virus 1 (PaV1). Because PaV1 is transmitted by contact, this behavior may thwart its spread in wild lobsters. In a field experiment conducted from 1998 to 2002 in a shelter-poor reef lagoon (Puerto Morelos, Mexico), densities of juvenile P. argus increased significantly on sites enhanced with artificial shelters (casitas) but not on control sites. Because PaV1 emerged in this location during 2000, we re-examined these data to assess whether casitas could potentially increase transmission of PaV1. In 2001, PaV1 prevalence was 2.5% and the cohabitation level (percentage of healthy lobsters cohabiting with diseased lobsters) was similar between natural shelters (3.5%) and casitas (2.4%). The relative lobster densities in casita sites and control sites did not change significantly before (1998–1999) or after (2001–2002) the disease emergence. In late 2006, data from casita sites showed a significant increase in prevalence (10.9%) and cohabitation level (29.4%), but no significant changes in lobster density. In May 2006, casitas were deployed on shelter-poor sites within Chinchorro Bank, 260 km south of Puerto Morelos. In late 2006, prevalence and cohabitation level were 7.4 and 21.7%, respectively. Our results are inconclusive as to whether or not casitas increase PaV1 transmission, but suggest that across shelter-poor habitats, lobsters make a trade-off between avoiding diseased conspecifics and avoiding predation risk.

KEY WORDS: Casitas · Mexican Caribbean · Panulirus argus Virus 1 · PaV1 · Prevalence · Spiny lobster

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Cite this article as: Lozano-Álvarez E, Briones-Fourzán P, Ramírez-Estévez A, Placencia-Sánchez D, Huchin-Mian JP, Rodríguez-Canul R (2008) Prevalence of Panulirus argus Virus 1 (PaV1) and habitation patterns of healthy and diseased Caribbean spiny lobsters in shelter-limited habitats. Dis Aquat Org 80:95-104.

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