Epidemiology of acanthocephalan infections in crabs from the Bahía Blanca Estuary, Argentina

L. F. La Sala, A. M. Perez, S. R. Martorelli

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Abstract

This study was conducted in two populations of crabs, Cyrtograpsus angulatus and Neohelice granulata from the Bahía Blanca Estuary, in Argentina, to identify risk factors for infection by the acanthocephalan Profilicollis chasmagnathi and to assess the association between infection and mortality of these hosts. Cyrtograpsus angulatus and N. granulata crabs were sampled seasonally over the course of a year, and spring sampling included collection of dead crabs predated by Olrog's gulls in a nearby breeding colony. Potential risk factors for infection were assessed and the number of cystacanth larvae per crab was counted. In C. angulatus, the odds of infection increased by 7% for each millimetre increase in carapace length, and were nearly 17 times greater in crabs sampled from the Olrog's gull feeding area compared with those sampled from nests in the breeding colony. For every millimetre increase in carapace length in N. granulata, the odds of infection increased by 13% in crabs from the breeding colony, and by 32% in crabs from the feeding area. Mean intensity of infection in N. granulata increased by 16.5% for each additional millimetre of carapace width. The level of parasite aggregation was lowest in the largest C. angulatus and highest in N. granulata predated by Olrog's gull. The results show that host size is the most important factor influencing infection prevalence in both crab species and intensity of infection in N. granulata, and suggest the presence of parasite-induced mortality in the populations studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)446-452
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Helminthology
Volume86
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012

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