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Protist-bryozoan-crustacean hyperepibiosis on Goneplax rhomboides (Linnaeus, 1758) (Decapoda, Brachyura) from the NW Mediterranean coast

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A protist-bryozoan-crustacean hyperepibiosis was observed on specimens of the brachyuran decapod Goneplax rhomboides collected on the NW Mediterranean coast. The primary epibionts were ctenostomate bryozoans of the species Triticella flava. The secondary epibionts were ciliate protists (Zoothamnium, Cothurnia, and Corynophrya). The bryozoans were located on the following areas of the crab: ocular orbits, maxillae, maxillipeds, chelipeds, pereiopods, dorsal carapace, ventral cephalothorax, abdomen, and carapace areas between the pereiopods. Ciliate protists were attached indistinctly to any of the surfaces of the bryozoans. The maximum number of bryozoans per crab was 943, and of ciliates per crab, 1,466. Data regarding the number of bryozoans and ciliates on each surface area of the crab are presented. Statistical analysis was carried out in order to relate the various anatomical units of the crab with the epibionts present. There was a significant correlation between the size (i.e., width) of the crab and the number of bryozoan epibionts. There also was a significant correlation between the number of bryozoans and the number of ciliates per crab. The data obtained were compared with those corresponding to other specimens of Goneplax rhomboides previously sampled in the same geographical area that showed the same ciliates, but in that case adhering directly to the surface of the crab. There was a significant correlation between specimens of G. rhomboides with and without bryozoan epibionts with respect to the number of individuals of Cothurnia on each anatomical unit of the crab. In addition, there also was a significant difference between crabs with and without bryozoans epibionts as to the number of protist epibionts on each surface area of the crustacean.

Una hiperepibiosis protista-briozoo-crustáceo fue observada en especímenes del decápodo braquiuro Goneplax rhomboides recolectados en la costa NW del Mediterráneo. Los epibiontes primarios fueron briozoos ctenostomados de la especie Triticella flava. Los epibiontes secundarios fueron protistas ciliados (Zoothamnium, Cothurnia y Corynophrya). Los briozoos estaban localizados en las siguientes áreas del cangrejo: órbitas oculares, maxilas, maxilípedos, quelípedos, pereiópodos, caparazón dorsal, cefalotórax ventral, abdomen, y áreas del caparazón entre los pereiópodos. Los protistas ciliados estaban adheridos indistintamente a cualquier superficie de los briozoos. El máximo número de briozoos por cangrejo fué de 943, y el de ciliados por cangrejo, 1.466. Se muestran datos relativos al número de briozoos y ciliados en cada área superficial del cangrejo. Se ha realizado un análisis estadístico para relacionar las diversas unidades anatómicas del cangrejo y los epibiontes presentes. Hay una correlación significativa entre el tamaño (p.ej. la anchura) del cangrejo y el número de briozoos epibiontes. También hay una correlación significativa entre el número de briozoos y el número de ciliados por cangrejo. Los datos obtenidos se compararon con los correspondientes a otros ejemplares de Goneplax rhomboides recolectados previamente en la misma área geográfica, que mostraron los mismos ciliados, aunque en este caso adheridos directamente a la superficie del cangrejo. Hay una correlación significativa entre especímenes de G. rhomboides con y sin briozoos epibiontes respecto al número de individuos de Cothurnia en cada unidad anatómica del cangrejo. Además, hay una diferencia significativa entre cangrejos con y sin briozoos epibiontes respecto al número de protistas epibiontes en cada área de la superficie del crustáceo.

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