Infestation of shore crab gills by a free-living mussel species

Poulter, Rowan, Oliver, P. Graham, Hauton, Chris, Sanders, Trystan and Ciotti, Benjamin J. (2017) Infestation of shore crab gills by a free-living mussel species Marine Biodiversity . DOI 10.1007/s12526-016-0631-x.

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Parasitic and commensal species can impact the structure and function of ecological communities and are typically highly specialized to overcome host defences. Here, we report multiple instances of a normally free-living species, the blue mussel Mytilus edulis Linnaeus, 1758, inhabiting the branchial chamber of the shore crab Carcinus maenas (Linnaeus, 1758) collected from widely separated geographical locations. A total of 127 C. maenas were examined from four locations in the English Channel, one location in the Irish Sea and two locations at the entrance of the Baltic Sea. The branchial chambers of three crabs (one from the English Channel and two from Gullmar Fjord, Sweden) were infested with mussels resembling the genus Mytilus. Sequencing at the Me15/16 locus on the polyphenolic adhesive protein gene confirmed the identity as M. edulis. Bivalve infestation always occurred in larger red male individuals. Up to 16 mussels, ranging from 2 to 11 mm in shell length, were found in each individual, either wedged between gill lamellae or attached to the branchial chamber inner wall. This is one of the first reports of a bivalve inhabiting crustacean gills and is an intriguing case of a normally free-living prey species infesting its predator

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Commensal; Infestation; Mussel-bound; Parasite; Predator–prey interaction; Shore crab
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-B Experimental Ecology - Benthic Ecology
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1007/s12526-016-0631-x
ISSN: 1867-1616
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2017 12:03
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2017 12:03

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