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First report of the aberrant association of branchiobdellidans (Annelida: Clitellata) on blue crabs (Crustacea: Decapoda) in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, USA

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This is the first article of branchiobdellidans on blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus, in Chesapeake Bay, MD, USA. The ectosymbionts consisted of sympatric populations of Cambarincola mesochoreus and Cambarincola pamelae living on the ventral body surface and in the gill chambers of blue crabs. The occurrence of branchiobdellidans in the upper bay region was documented at ten sites during August and late September 2003. Branchiobdellidans were found on blue crabs following a rainy summer when salinity levels fell below 3 ppt. The blue crabs move into the freshwater estuaries during the summer, where they enter the habitats of crayfishes; however, the mechanism of transfer from one crustacean host to another is not known.

Keywords: Branchiobdellida; Callinectes sapidus; ectosymbiosis

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Science and Mathematics, University of Maine at Presque Isle, Presque Isle, Maine 04769, USA 2: Cooperative Oxford Laboratory, Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Oxford, Maryland 21654, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2006

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