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PARASITIC AND SYMBIOTIC FAUNA INHABITING OYSTERS (CRASSOSTREA VIRGINICA) SAMPLED FROM THE CALOOSAHATCHEE ESTUARY, FL
Winstead, J T., A. K. Volety, AND G. Tolly. PARASITIC AND SYMBIOTIC FAUNA INHABITING OYSTERS (CRASSOSTREA VIRGINICA) SAMPLED FROM THE CALOOSAHATCHEE ESTUARY, FL. Presented at 94th Annual Meeting of National Shellfisheries Association, Mystic, CT, April 14-18, 2002.
Oysters, Crassostrea virginica, inhabiting 5 sites in the Caloosahatchee River estuary were studied over a 13 month period to determine the suitability of oyster habitat in relation to their health and condition. Histological examination of 650 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 marinum), digenetic trematodes (Bucephalus cuculus and the first report from this area of what appears to be Echinostoma sp.). In addition, a significant number of mud crabs, Panopeus herbstii,
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) is discussed.