Probopyrus pandalicola is a bopyrid isopod that infects several palaemonid shrimp species, including the daggerblade grass shrimp Palaemonetes pugio. The parasite can have several negative effects on its host, including loss of hemolymph, reduced reproductive potential, and decreased molting frequency and growth. To date, there are conflicting reports on whether Probopyrus pandalicola affects the reproductive capability of both male and female daggerblade grass shrimp. The purpose of this study was to determine whether infection by Probopyrus pandalicola resulted in the sexual sterilization of Palaemonetes pugio, and if the reproductive capability of male and/or female shrimp was restored after the bopyrid was removed. We found that parasitized and deparasitized males were able to fertilize the eggs of unparasitized females successfully, as 18.9 ± 7.1% and 42.7 ± 5.2% of the females paired with them became ovigerous in 4 wk, respectively. Neither parasitized nor deparasitized females became ovigerous when placed with unparasitized males during the 4-wk period. However, 45.4 ± 20.6% of deparasitized females did become ovigerous within 10 wk. Despite the fact that female shrimp are able to reproduce again when no longer parasitized, the majority of females remain infected with the bopyrid for their entire lives. Therefore, the sexual sterilization of female shrimp could potentially have a significant impact on estuarine food webs, as grass shrimp are conduits of detrital energy and a food source for many recreationally and commercially important species in estuaries on the East Coast of the United States and in the Gulf of Mexico.

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