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Spatial variability of larval parasites harboured by two crab species in an estuarine environment in Argentina

  • Agustina Mendez Casariego (a1) (a2), Matias Merlo (a1) (a2) and Jorge Etchegoin (a1) (a2)


Soft bottom intertidals of the Atlantic SW are dominated by the semi-terrestrial crab Neohelice granulata and the grapsid crab Cyrtograpsus angulatus. They are similar in size but C. angulatus is mainly a subtidal species, while N. granulata inhabits the intertidal zones, thus the two species overlap only during high tides in this area. Since these distribution differences between crab species across the Mar Chiquita Coastal lagoon may affect digenean infection success, the objective of this work is to describe the spatial differences in parasite infection levels and their selectivity on the host. To determine possible spatial differences in parasitism levels between sites and crab species across the lagoon, three areas dominated by N. granulata were selected and adult crabs of N. granulata and C. angulatus were collected. Both crab species harboured metacercariae of the digeneans Microphallus szidati and Maritrema bonaerensis (Microphallidae), and cystacanths of the acanthocephalan Profilicollis chasmagnathi (Profilicollidae). Digenean species showed preferences between the two crabs. Maritrema bonaerensis mean intensity was higher in N. granulata than in C. angulatus, while the opposite trend was found for M. szidati and could indicate some level of specificity. These results, nevertheless, depended on the study site. For P. chasmagnathi the highest values of mean intensity depended more on the site than on the crab species. The values found here, compared with previous works from both crab species, suggest that besides the spatial heterogeneity, interspecific competition between parasites could explain the differences observed.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to:A. Mendez Casariego, FCEyN, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, CC 1260 Correo Central, B7600WAG, Mar del Plata, Argentina email:


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Spatial variability of larval parasites harboured by two crab species in an estuarine environment in Argentina

  • Agustina Mendez Casariego (a1) (a2), Matias Merlo (a1) (a2) and Jorge Etchegoin (a1) (a2)


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