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The parasitic dinoflagellate Hematodinium infects marine crustaceans

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By Milthon Lujan

Announcing a new publication for Marine Life Science & Technology journal. In this review article the authors Caiwen Li, Meng Li and Qian Huang from Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao, China consider the impact of the parasitic dinoflagellate Hematodinium on aquaculture of marine crustaceans in China.

Hematodinium is a type of parasitic dinoflagellate that infects marine crustaceans globally. The parasite lives mainly in the hemolymph or hemocoels of affected hosts, and results in mortalities due to malfunction or loss of functions of major organs.

In recent years, the parasite has developed into an emerging epidemic pathogen not only affecting wild populations of economically valuable marine crustaceans in western countries but also the sustainable yield of aquaculture of major crabs in China. Epidemics of the parasitic disease have expanded recently in the coastal waters of China causing frequent outbreaks in aquaculture of major crab species, especially Portunus trituberculatus and Scylla paramamosain.

The pathogen also infected two species of co-cultured shrimps and multiple cohabitating wild crabs, suggesting it is a significant threat to the sustainable culture of commercially valuable marine crustaceans. The polyculture system that is widely used along the coast of China may facilitate the spread and transmission of the pathogen.

To provide a better understanding of the biological and ecological characteristics of the parasitic dinoflagellate and highlight important directions for future research, the authors of this article review the current knowledge on the taxonomy, life cycle, pathogenesis, transmission and epidemiology of Hematodinium spp. proposing ecological countermeasures for the prevention and control of this emerging infectious disease.

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Reference (open access):
Caiwen Li, Meng Li and Qian Huang, The parasitic dinoflagellate Hematodinium infects marine crustaceans, Marine Life Science & Technology, 2020, ISSN 2662-1746, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42995-020-00061-z

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