Hematodinium infection seasonality in the Firth of Clyde (Scotland) nephrops norvegicus population: a re-evaluation
- Publisher: Inter Research
Hematodinium infections in Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus from the Clyde Sea area (CSA) population, Scotland, UK, have previously been undetected in summer. This study aimed to establish if the CSA is actually devoid of infected N. norvegicus in this season. Two PCR assays, an ELISA and 2 tests that detect only patent infection (pleopod and body colour methods) were applied in a 21 mo study. Patent infection was seasonal, appearing predominantly in spring, while subpatent infection diagnosed by ELISA and PCR was highly prevalent in all seasons. Generalised linear modelling supported this assertion, as sampling in September and February significantly increased the probability of finding infected N. norvegicus (p < 0.01); infections were predominantly subpatent and patent respectively, at these times. Therefore, Hematodinium seasonality in N. norvegicus populations is likely to have been an artefact of insensitive diagnostic tests. Light Hematodinium infections were found using PCR assays when patent infections were at their most prevalent and intense, suggesting that infection develops at different rates in different N. norvegicus individuals and that only a portion of the total number of infected N. norvegicus die within a single year. These new data were added to a long-term data series for the CSA (1990 to 2008), which showed that after an initial 5 yr epidemic period, prevalence stabilised at 20 to 25%. Comparisons with ‘susceptible-infected-recovered/removed’ (SIR) models suggest that this high prevalence is maintained through high birth rates of susceptible host N. norvegicus.