Distribution of Octolasmis Muelleri, an Ectocommensal Gill Barnacle, on the Blue Crab
Abstract:Blue crabs were collected monthly at Seahorse Key, Florida and their gills inspected for the presence of an ectocommensal barnacle, Octolasmis muelleri. Monthly infestation rates ranged from 17% to 67% with no obvious seasonal effect, although small sample sizes for some months precludes rigorous comparison. A total of 529 crabs was inspected and 4,594 barnacles were found in their gill chambers. The overall infestation rate was 40.0%. The mean number of barnacles per infested crab was 21.8 with as many as 432 barnacles on one crab. The distribution of barnacles among crab hosts was not significantly different from the negative binomial distribution, indicating strong aggregation of the barnacles. Barnacles were most commonly found on their expected optimal host–previously infested adult blue crabs. They were also most frequent at their expected optimal site within the host gill chamber–at the base of the hypobranchial side of gills 3, 4, 5 and 6. This study shows that O. muelleri is a common and potentially harmful ectocommensal of Seahorse Key blue crabs and that host and site within host selection may occur.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1990-01-01
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