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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI:

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

    K. S. Bateman*, G. D. Stentiford, R. Kerr, C. Hooper, P. White, M. Edwards, S. Ross, R. Hazelgrove, C. Daumich, M. J. Green, D. Ivory, C. Evans, D. Bass

    *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 was 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 shown to be 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.