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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03697

    Parasite infection influences crustacean responsiveness and activity

    Francesco Golin*, Shauna Moore, Katie O’Dwyer

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Most bopyrid isopod parasites, which are crustaceans themselves, settle in the branchial chamber of decapod crustaceans and feed on host haemolymph. Here we report the results of an experiment on the common prawn Palaemon serratus and the parasite Bopyrus squillarum. Infected and uninfected prawns were stimulated with pokes of a plastic rod until an escape response was triggered; the number of pokes was recorded as an indicator of prawn responsiveness, whereas the time spent moving following stimulation was used as an indicator of prawn activity. Our results show that bopyrid infection affects both prawn responsiveness and activity, with infected prawns requiring more pokes to move, and moving for less time compared to uninfected prawns. In nature, such behavioural changes may impact defence mechanisms and survival of infected prawns. This could contribute to decreases in P. serratus' abundance, therefore affecting the coastal ecosystems home to this species and the fisheries reliant on it, such as the Irish shrimp fishery.