Metabolic effects of parasitization by the barnacle Polyascus plana (Cirripedia: Rhizocephala: Sacculinidae) on a grapsid host, Metopograpsus thukuhar

Chia Jen Hsiao, Yen I. Wu, Tzu An Tung, Guan Yi Wang, Jean Yves Toullec, Shih Ting Liu, Wen San Huang, Chi Ying Lee

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Pathophysiological studies of rhizocephalan infections are rare. We describe differences in the levels of tissue and hemolymph metabolites between Polyascus plana-parasitized and unparasitized individuals of Metopograpsus thukuhar. Crabs were assigned to either a parasitized (carrying at least 1 externa, i.e. a protruding reproductive body) or an unparasitized (not carrying externae and determined to be rootlet-free by a barnacle 18S rRNA-based polymerase chain reaction) group. Quantification of metabolites showed that muscle glycogen levels were significantly lower and hepatopancreas levels were significantly higher in parasitized crabs compared to unparasitized crabs; hepatopancreas triacylglycerol levels were significantly higher and hemo - lymph levels significantly lower in parasitized hosts, and there was no significant difference in muscle triacylglycerol levels between unparasitized and parasitized animals. Glucose levels in the hepatopancreas, muscle, and hemolymph were all significantly higher in parasitized hosts. Significant levels of glucose, triacylglycerol, and glycogen were present in the barnacle externae. In addition, levels of crustacean hyperglycemic hormone in the sinus glands were not significantly different between unparasitized and parasitized animals. Glucose mobilized from the muscle is likely converted to glycogen and triacylglycerol in the rootlet-infiltrated hepatopancreas of parasitized hosts, and the eyestalk neuroendocrine system appears not to be significantly impaired, in terms of hormone production and storage, by parasitization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-206
Number of pages8
JournalDiseases of Aquatic Organisms
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016 May 26


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science

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