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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03772

    Variation in Paramarteilia canceri infections in velvet crab (Necora puber)

    Signe Martin*, Deborah Cheslett, Evelyn Collins, Simona Georgieva, Ian O’ Connor, Fiona Swords, Katie O’ Dwyer

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Sustainable management of crustacean populations requires an understanding of the range of factors affecting different crustacean species. Recently a high prevalence of a paramyxid parasite Paramarteilia canceri was reported in velvet crabs (Necora puber) in Ireland. Similar parasites have been known to cause mass mortalities in bivalves and as velvet crab are an important commercial species these parasite infections are cause for concern. The main objective of this study was to examine variation in P. canceri infections in relation to host biology and season over a two-year period. In addition, we tested a range of host tissues and organs to gain more information on the host-parasite interaction. The parasite was present in all tissues and organs investigated, including the gonad and eggs of a berried female. Parasite prevalence was highest in the cuticular epithelium and hepatopancreas. Both annual and seasonal variation was found in parasite prevalence and parasite load. No difference was found in parasite prevalence or parasite load with either crab size or crab sex. Granulomas as a response to infection were significantly more abundant in infected velvet crab. The results of this study provide important information on the host-parasite interaction between P. canceri and velvet crab and highlight the importance of including parasite monitoring in management of crustacean fisheries.