Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
Parasitic dinoflagellates in the genus Hematodinium are important parasites of marine Crustacea. Outbreaks of these parasites have damaged commercial stocks of Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus, snow crab Chionoecetes opilio, Tanner crab C. bairdi, American blue crab Callinectes sapidus, and velvet swimming crab Necora puber. Species of Hematodinium can reach high enough levels to regulate their host populations, but mortalities are also centred on the unfished juveniles and females, hosts not normally sampled by fisheries; hence impacts are often underreported. Seasonal prevalences of up to 85 % occur annually in many host populations; in effect, these parasites form cryptic blooms in the water column with crabs and other crustaceans at risk of disease. We review the biology and ecology of Hematodinium spp. infections in crustaceans. lncluded is a comparison of the different infections, a synthesis of what is known, and an attempt to highlight fruitful areas for continued research.
Stentiford, GD and Shields, Jeffrey D., A review of the parasitic dinoflagellates Hematodinium species and Hematodinium-like infections in marine crustaceans (2005). Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 66(1), 47-70.