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PARASITIC AND SYMBIOTIC FAUNA IN OYSTERS (CRASSOSTREA VIRGINICA) AND MUD CRABS (PANOPEUS SPP.) FROM THE CALOOSAHATCHEE ESTUARY, FLORIDA, USA.
Volety, A. K., S. G. Tolley, AND J T. Winstead. PARASITIC AND SYMBIOTIC FAUNA IN OYSTERS (CRASSOSTREA VIRGINICA) AND MUD CRABS (PANOPEUS SPP.) FROM THE CALOOSAHATCHEE ESTUARY, FLORIDA, USA. Presented at 4th Internat'l Conference on Molluscan Shellfish Safety, Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain, Jun 4-8, 2002.
Volety, Aswani K., S. Greg Tolley and James T. Winstead. 2002. Parasitic and Symbiotic Fauna in Oysters (Crassostrea virginica) and Mud Crabs (Panopeus spp.) from the Caloosahatchee Estuary, Florida, USA (Abstract). Presented at the 4th International Conference on Molluscan Shellfish Safety, 4-8 June 2002, Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain. 1 p. (ERL,GB R958).
Oysters, Crassostrea virginica, inhabiting five sites in the Caloosahatchee River estuary were studied over a 15-month period to determine the suitability of oyster habitat in relation to oyster health, condition and water quality. Histological examination of 750 oysters (10 animals per station per month) revealed a varied parasitic and symbiotic fauna inhabiting these molluscs at all stations. Organisms found included protozoans Nematopsis sp. and Perkinsus marinus ( mud crabs and oysters are definitive hosts respectively), digenetic trematodes Bucephalus cuculus (definitive hosts are lepisosteid fishes) and Echinostoma sp, cestode larvae Tylocephalum sp. (definitve parasites are sting rays), and a hydrozoan inquiline symbiont (Eutima sp.). Oysters from Tarpon Bay, a downstream station exhibited high prevalence of Echinostome infections (70 - 100%) throughout the year. Although the presence of Echinostoma spp. has been shown in oysters from Tampa Bay and Texas, this is the first time the presence of this parasite in oysters from Southwest Florida has been reported. Although the definitive hosts of this parasite are birds, these parasites have the potential to infect mammals including humans. P. marinus infections were found in oysters at all stations but at low intensities. In addition, a significant number of mud crabs ( 3 30%), Panopeus spp., inhabiting oyster habitat at two sites were found to be parasitized by rhizocephalan barnacles, Loxothylacus sp. Prevalence and pathological consequences of these organisms and the role oyster-parasite relationships may play as an indicator of ecosystem complexity (biodiversity) will be discussed.