Ostrea puelchana (D'Orbigny 1842): a new host of Tumidotheres maculatus (Say, 1818) in northern Patagonia, Argentina
Doldan,María del Socorro
Tumidotheres maculatus has been reported as a commensal of Mytilus platensis and Atrina seminuda and suggested as a parasite of Aequipecten tehuelchus in San Matías Gulf (SMG). The native flat oyster, Ostrea puelchana, has been studied in SMG for decades, and no crab-oyster association has been reported. In autumn-spring 2009 and 2010, oysters were collected from four banks in SMG, and the occurrence of T. maculatus inside the pallial cavity of O. puelchana was recorded. The prevalence varied between sites, with 0-12.5% at El Sótano, 0-16.7% at Caleta de los Loros, and no crabs found in the samples from Las Grutas and Puerto Lobos. Infected oysters hosted a single crab. Oysters were infested by either one male (47.7%) or one female (15.1%). A positive but low correlation was found for male crab size and oyster size. The presence of these crabs inside the oysters could be due to the overlap of the distribution areas of O. puelchana and other bivalve hosts. Our findings may also be a consequence of local fishing. Commercial extraction of traditional hosts may have caused crabs to look for new hosts.