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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT Fourteen species of brachyuran crabs from Tampa Bay, Florida, were examined for the occurrence and abundance of commensal trichomycetous fungi. Such fungi were found in the hindguts of six of these species, and all fungi observed belonged to the order Eccrinales. Percentage of occurrence of fungi in the infested species ranged from 10% (in Uca pugilator) to 70% (in Uca rapax). The fungi were quantified by estimating the total length of hyphae present in an individual crab. Mean amounts of fungi in the infested species ranged from 0.06 mm of hyphae per crab (U. pugilator) to 36.09 mm of hyphae per crab (Aratus pisonii). Separate collections were made in order to examine occurrence and abundance of fungi in three populations of A. pisonii and four populations of U. pugilator. Percentage of occurrence of fungi in populations of A. pisonii was from 80-95% and mean abundance of fungi was from 76.18-178.0 mm of hyphae per crab. Percentage of occurrence in populations of U. pugilator was from 5-25% and mean abundance of fungi was from 0.12-4.66 mm of hyphae per crab. The patterns of occurrence and abundance of fungi seemed best explained by the feeding habits of a species of crab, those with fungi being herbivorous and/or detritivorous. The present study has been the first to examine this type of fungal infestation from a quantitative perspective.


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