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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT Hermit crabs, Pagurus spp., collected year-round by the Marine Resources Center, Marine Biological Laboratory, exhibited a spring time increase in mortality. Two diseases are responsible for this mortality. Infection by larval tetraphyllidean cestodes has been previously described. Twenty-eight per cent of laboratory-maintained animals also exhibited a severe mycotic infection caused by Fusarium solani. Characteristic lesions produced by this fungus were infection of the gill filaments, direct invasion of the branchial joint dermis and overlying arthrodial membrane, and subsequent invasion of the dermis of the cephalothorax and overlying arthrodial membrane. The fungus elicited a severe mixed inflammatory cell response with encapsulation and melanosis of the fungal elements. Disease outbreaks were effectively controlled by elimination of infective sources and disinfection of environmental surfaces with chlorine bleach. This disease is similar to black gill disease of shrimps and lobsters.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory for Marine Animal Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543.


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