Thursday, July 30, 2009

Life Photo Meme: Parasitic

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda


Order: Isopoda

Family: Bopyridae

For my parasitic photo I could not resist putting up these. They are ghost shrimp, and the ghost shrimp on the top is a healthy female with eggs, while the pale one on the bottom is a female infected with Ione cornuta. The parasite is under the exoskeleton, but can be seen as a large lump on the side of the shrimp (right side).

This parasite goes through a rather complex life cycle, where if goes through a couple of different hosts before ending up in ghost shrimp. The first Ione to land on the shrimp's gills will become a female and the second one a male. They spend the rest of their lives in the shrimp's gill chamber, and grow with the shrimp.

While I seem to lack a photo of Ione outside of it's host, I do have a picture of a very closely related parasite Orthione, which looks and acts very much like Ione, save that it lives in mud shrimp instead of ghost shrimp.

(The little curled-up part towards the bottom left is the male, he is much smaller than the female and generally lives on her)


Jan S said...

That is fascinating. Does the parasite eventually kill the shrimp or does it have more of a symbiotic relationship?

Brine Queen said...

We don't know too much about the effects of the parasite on the shrimp... however, we don't think that it kills the shrimp directly, but it does take so much energy, that the shrimp may not be able to reproduce.