Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
The Caribbean spiny lobster Panulirus argus, an important fisheries species, is host to Panulirus argus virus 1 (PaV1), a lethal, unclassified virus—the first found in any species of lobster— prevalent in juvenile lobsters. We describe a series of laboratory experiments aimed at assessing the likely modes of disease transmission, determining the survival of lobsters relative to each transmission pathway and identifying potential alternate hosts. Given evidence for lower prevalence of PaV1 in large lobsters, the effect of lobster size on susceptibility was also examined. Results demonstrated that PaV1 can be transmitted to juvenile lobsters via inoculation, ingestion of diseased tissue, contact with diseased lobsters and—among the smallest juveniles—through water over distances of a few meters. Contact and waterborne transmission, the most likely modes of transmission in the wild, were less efficient than inoculation or ingestion. Nevertheless, about half of the smallest lobsters in contact and waterborne trials contracted the disease and died within 3 mo. Other decapods that co-occur with P. argus (e.g. spotted lobster P. guttatus, stone crab Menippe mercenaria, channel crab Mithrax spinosissimus) did not acquire the disease after inoculation with PaV1- infected hemolymph. Our results confirmed that PaV1 is highly infectious and lethal to juvenile P. argus, particularly early benthic juveniles in the wild, and, hence, is a threat to mariculture.
Butler, Mark J.; Behringer, Donald C.; and Shields, Jeffrey D., Transmission of Panulirus argus virus 1 (PaV1) and its effect on the survival of juvenile Caribbean spiny lobster (2008). Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 70, 173-182.