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Volume 45 - Number 3 - 2010


Physiological responses of Neotrypaea uncinata (Decapoda: Thalassinidea) to hypoxia and parasitism by Ionella agassizi (Isopoda: Epicaridea)

Lorena P. Astete-Espinoza1, Claudia F. Garrido1 y Cristian W. Cáceres1


1Departamento de Ecología Costera, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Casilla 297, Concepción, Chile




Thalassinidean shrimps are common macrofaunal components of the intertidal and shallow subtidal zones of beaches and estuaries. These organisms present burrowing behavior and are exposed to low oxygen concentrations in their natural environment. In addition, the parasitic isopod Ionella agassizi is frequently found in the branchial chamber of the ghost shrimp Neotrypaea uncinata. Previous studies have shown that the presence of this parasite affects the physiological condition of N. uncinata, provoking a negative effect on reproduction. In this study we evaluated the effects of exposure to hypoxia and parasitism on host metabolic capacity. For this, we evaluated the effect of the parasite on area of gas exchange in the host and the ability to resist hypoxic conditions by evaluating haemolymphatic concentrations of proteins, haemocyanin, lactate, glucose and the activity of enzyme lactate-dehydrogenase (LDH). Our results indicate that the presence of the parasite reduces the gill area in N. uncinata. During exposition of the ghost shrimp to hypoxic conditions, this increases its hemolymphatic concentrations of glucose, lactate, and the activivity of LDH. These results are interpreted as the utilization of metabolic alternatives to aerobic metabolism during periods of oxygen deficiency


Key words: Metabolism, haemolymph, ghost shrimp



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