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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 92:59-68 (2010)  -  DOI:

Hematodinium sp. (Alveolata, Syndinea) detected in marine decapod crustaceans from waters of Denmark and Greenland

F. Eigemann1,4,*, A. Burmeister2, A. Skovgaard3

1University of Copenhagen, Department of Biology, Øster Farimagsgade 2D, 1353 Copenhagen K, Denmark
2Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Postbox 576, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland
3University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Life Sciences, Laboratory of Aquatic Pathobiology, Stigbøjlen 7, 1870 Frederiksberg, Denmark
4Present address: Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Müggelseedamm 301, 12587 Berlin, Germany

ABSTRACT: Five decapod crustacean species were examined for presence of the parasitic dinoflagellate Hematodinium spp. (Alveolata, Syndinea) by morphological methods (colour and pleopod methods) as well as by PCR and nested PCR with Hematodinium-specific primers. Nephrops norvegicus, Pagurus bernhardus and Liocarcinus depurator were sampled by trawling in Danish waters and Chionoecetes opilio and Hyas araneus were sampled by trapping off the west coast of Greenland. The existence of Hematodinium has not previoiusly been documented in Danish waters, but it was detected in all 3 decapod species examined in the present study. Hematodinium sp. was also detected for the first time in H. araneus and the existence of Hematodinium sp. in Greenlandic C. opilio was documented by PCR. Analyses of 26 Hematodinium sp. ITS1 sequences, including sequences from all 5 host species sampled, revealed more than 95% sequence similarity between 24 of the sequences. Two Hematodinium sp. ITS1 sequences from C. opilio were only 81% similar to the 24 other ITS1 sequences. The nested PCR approach resulted in the highest reported percentages of positive samples for Hematodinium the hosts investigated (between 45 and 87.5%). However, no decapods were found to be infected with Hematodinium sp. based on morphological methods. Consequently, Hematodinium sp. may be more common than previously believed, and, assuming that the DNA found originated from viable and infectious parasite cells, infections may not always be fatal. We suggest that the hosts investigated may have been subject to latent infections that could develop into a fatal disease only if the hosts were physiologically stressed due to other factors.

KEY WORDS: Hematodinium · Latent infections · ITS1 · Parasitic dinoflagellates · PCR detection

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Cite this article as: Eigemann F, Burmeister A, Skovgaard A (2010) Hematodinium sp. (Alveolata, Syndinea) detected in marine decapod crustaceans from waters of Denmark and Greenland. Dis Aquat Org 92:59-68.

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