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OVERRIDING OF THE MOLT-INDUCING STIMULUS OF MULTIPLE LIMB AUTOTOMY IN THE MUD CRAB RHITHROPANOPEUS HARRISII BY PARASITIZATION WITH A RHIZOCEPHALAN

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ABSTRACT Specimens of the mud crab Rhithropanopeus harrisii underwent ecdysis within 16 days following autotomy of six walking limbs from each, compared to a mean of 40 days for untreated controls. The second ecdysis following autotomy also occurred sooner than that of controls of equivalent size. Crabs parasitized by the rhizocephalan parasitic castrator Loxothylacus panopei did not undergo ecdysis during the duration of this investigation (140 days) whether autotomized or not. Parasitized crabs from which walking legs had been autotomized in the laboratory did not form limb regenerates. However, two parasitized crabs that had been collected from the field bore large regenerates that may have developed before the rhizocephalan-induced anecdysis. It appears that sacculinids prevent ecdysis of their hosts even after proecdysis has been initiated. In a pattern typical of sacculinid-host associations, prevalence of the castrator decreased with increasing host size.

10.2307/1548333
/content/journals/10.2307/1548333
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/content/journals/10.2307/1548333
2017-08-18

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