Bopyrids are highly modified epicaridean isopod ectoparasites with the adult females showing extreme specialization of body form when compared with free-living isopods (Shiino, 1965). The smaller males are similar to free-living isopods, retaining the basic cryptoniscus larval form (Naylor, 1972), and are typically found in the brood chamber of the female or attached to the ventral surface of the female's pleon (Salazar-Vallejo & Leija-Tristán, 1989).
Whilst examining the branchial morphology of the upogebiids, Upogebia stellata (Montagu), Upogebia deltaura (Leach) and Upogebia pusilla (Petagna) as part of a wider study of the physiological ecology of thalassinidean mud-shrimps, some shrimps were observed to have a branchial gall (distended branchiostegite) containing a bopyrid parasite. In this short note we add to the previous records of two bopyrid species and briefly discuss the host/parasite relationship.
Parasitized material examined: U. stellata (three males, two females) collected subtidally using an anchor dredge from White Bay, Isle of Cumbrae, Scotland (55°48'N 4°55'W) at depths of 25–30 m. A single male specimen of U. deltaura was caught using a box corer from the Irish Sea (54°7'N 3°27'W). Upogebia pusilla (one male, one female) were collected intertidally from the Arcachon Basin, France (44°40'N l°10'W) by Professor J.P. Truchot. Prior to examination, the mud-shrimps were preserved in 10% buffered formalin, the parasites removed, rinsed with distilled water and transferred to 70% ethanol. Some preserved material was also available from the Robertson Collection housed at the University Marine Biological Station Millport.
Parasitized mud-shrimps had an enlarged branchial chamber, or branchial gall, a result of branchiostegite deformation caused by the presence of the parasite. When the parasite was removed from the branchial chamber, the gills appeared splayed and flattened but showed no other signs of disturbance or damage.