Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Diseases Of Aquatic Organisms
The behavior of Microphallus turgidus cercariae was examined and compared to microhabitat selection of the second intermediate hosts of the parasite, Palaemonetes spp. grass shrimp. Cercariae were tested for photokinetic and geotactic responses, and a behavioral ethogram was established for cercariae in control and grass shrimp-conditioned brackish water. Photo kinesis trials were performed using a half-covered Petri dish, and geotaxis trials used a graduated cylinder. Both photokinesis and geotaxis trials were performed in lighted and unlighted conditions. In 9 of 10 photokinesis experiments, over half of the cercariae swam horizontally under the covered half of a Petri dish in both the lighted and the unlighted trials. However, movement of the cercariae to the covered half of the dish was highest (81.4%) when the parasites were exposed to light. In the geotaxis study, most cercariae were found in the bottom third of a graduated cylinder water column in both the lighted and unlighted trials. The most frequently observed activity of individual cercariae in a lighted Petri dish was swimming on the bottom of the dish. Activity patterns of the cercariae were not affected by shrimp-conditioned water. Movement of the cercariae away from light into dark, active swimming at or near the bottom of the water column, and a lack of response to host odors suggest that the cercariae utilize search patterns that place the parasite in the preferred microhabitat of the principle second intermediate host, the grass shrimp P. pugio.
Salt-Marsh; Trematoda Microphallidae; Intertidal Habitats; Marine Cercariae; Pugio; Georgia; Larval; Vulgaris; Parasite; Abundance
O'Leary, PA and Pung, OJ, Behavioral analysis of Microphallus turgidus cercariae in relation to microhabitat of two host grass shrimp species (Palaemonetes spp.) (2017). Diseases Of Aquatic Organisms, 122(3), 237-245.