Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Diseases of Aquatic Organisms



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Lobsters and other crustaceans do not have sterile hemolymph. Despite this, little is known about the microbiome in the hemolymph of the lobster Homarus americanus. The purpose of this study was to characterize the hemolymph microbiome in lobsters. The lobsters were part of a larger study on the effect of temperature on epizootic shell disease, and several died during the course of the study, providing an opportunity to examine differences in the microbiomes between live and recently dead (1−24 h) animals. The hemolymph microbiomes of live lobsters was different from those in dead animals and both were different from the tank microbiome in which the animals had been held. The microbiomes of live lobsters were more diverse and had a different suite of bacteria than those from dead animals. The dominant taxa in live lobsters belonged to Flavobacteriaceae and Rhodobacteraceae, whereas Vibrionaceae and Enterobacteriaceae were predominant in the dead lobsters. Although aquarium microbiomes overlapped with the hemolymph microbiomes, there was less overlap and lower abundance of taxa in comparison with hemolymph from live lobsters. Previous studies reporting bacteria in the digestive tract of lobsters suggested that Vibrionaceae and Enterobacteriaceae had invaded the hemolymph via the gut.Our study suggests that hemolymph bacteria abundant in live lobsters do not originate from the tank milieu and comprise a rich, natural, or native background of bacterial constituents.


doi: 10.3354/dao03568


Decapoda, microorganism, biodiversity, gut microbiome

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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