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The effect of the bopyrid isopod Probopyrus pandalicola (Packard, 1879) (Isopoda, Bopyridae) on the survival time of the daggerblade grass shrimp Palaemonetes pugio Holthuis, 1949 (Decapoda, Palaemonidae) during starvation at two different temperatures

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The daggerblade grass shrimp Palaemonetes pugio Holthuis, 1949 is prevalent in estuaries along the East and Gulf coasts of the United States, and is an integral part of the estuarine food web. Probopyrus pandalicola (Packard, 1879) is a bopyrid isopod that parasitizes P. pugio and decreases the energy available to its host by feeding on the hemolymph of the shrimp. The parasite also causes female shrimp to be castrated. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of Probopyrus pandalicola on the survival time of P. pugio during starvation at two different temperatures. The experiment was conducted between September 2009 and June 2012 at 20.0 ± 0.11°C and 25.0 ± 0.10°C. Three trials at each temperature were performed. For each trial, parasitized, deparasitized and unparasitized shrimp were randomly placed into individual aquaria in a temperature-controlled chamber. All trials lasted until 100% shrimp mortality occurred. The bopyrid isopod did have a significant effect on shrimp survival times, but only at the higher temperature during which parasitized shrimp survived a significantly shorter amount of time (21.8 ± 6.93 days) than unparasitized shrimp (25.2 ± 8.25 days). In contrast, the bopyrid did not have a significant effect on shrimp survival times at the lower temperature, with shrimp surviving an average of 26.9-27.5 days. The results of this study have implications related to potential climate change, specifically higher temperatures, as we found that a small increase in temperature significantly affected the response of P. pugio to the isopod parasite. This supports prior research on other host-parasite interactions that are affected by increased temperature.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences, Savannah State University, Box 20600, Savannah, GA 31404, U.S.A.


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