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Habitat and Host Specificity of Trematode Metacercariae in Fiddler Crabs from Mangrove Habitats in Florida

Nancy F. Smith, Gregory M. Ruiz and Sherry A. Reed
The Journal of Parasitology
Vol. 93, No. 5 (Oct., 2007), pp. 999-1005
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40058818
Page Count: 7
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Habitat and Host Specificity of Trematode Metacercariae in Fiddler Crabs from Mangrove Habitats in Florida
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Abstract

Fiddler crabs (Uca spp.) are common inhabitants of temperate and tropical coastal communities throughout the world, often occupying specific microenvironments within mangrove and salt marsh habitats. As second intermediate hosts for trematodes, we investigated patterns of host distribution and parasitism for 3 species of sympatric fiddler crabs in mangrove habitats adjacent to the Indian River Lagoon, Florida. Fiddler crab distribution varied among species, with Uca speciosa dominating the low and mid intertidal regions of mangrove banks. This species also exhibited higher prevalence and abundance of Probolocoryphe lanceolata metacercariae compared with Uca rapax, which is relatively more abundant in the high intertidal zone. We conducted a field experiment to test whether U. speciosa was more heavily parasitized by P. lanceolata as a result of its habitat distribution by raising U. speciosa and U. rapax under identical environmental conditions. After exposure to shedding cercariae under the same field conditions, all individuals of U. speciosa became parasitized by P. lanceolata, whereas no U. rapax were parasitized, suggesting that differences in parasitism were driven by host selection.

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