Detection of Panulirus argus Virus 1 (PaV1) in the Caribbean spiny lobster using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)

LM Nunan
DV Lightner
CR Pantoja
NA Stokes
KS Reece


Mortalities of Penaeus vannamei, cultured in ponds in Belize, Central America, began during the last part of the grow-out cycle during the cold weather months from September 2004 through February 2005. Tissue squashes of infected hepatopancreata and histological examination of infected shrimp revealed that the mortalities might have been caused by an endoparasite. To confirm the diagnosis, DNA was extracted from ethanol preserved hepatopancreata and the small-subunit rRNA gene was sequenced. The 1838 by sequence was novel and phylogenetic analysis placed the P. vannamei parasite within the phylum Haplosporidia as a sister taxon to a clade that includes Bonamia and Minchinia species. In situ hybridization was performed using anti-sense DNA probes that were designed to hybridize specifically with the parasite's nucleic acid. This organism presents similar characteristics to those of a haplosporidian that infected cultured P. vannamei imported from Nicaragua into Cuba, as described by Dykova et al.