Cymo melanodactylus crabs slow progression of white syndrome lesions on corals

Pollock, F.J., Katz, S.M., Bourne, D.G., and Willis, B.L. (2013) Cymo melanodactylus crabs slow progression of white syndrome lesions on corals. Coral Reefs, 32 (1). pp. 43-48.

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Abstract

Predation on coral tissue by the crab Cymo melanodactylus has been hypothesized to contribute to tissue loss caused by white syndromes (WS) in acroporid corals. Here, we demonstrate that transplanting C. melanodactylus crabs from WS-infected Acropora colonies onto healthy coral fragments in controlled aquarium experiments does not result in WS transmission over a 21-day experimental period. Furthermore, progression of WS lesions was three times more rapid on corals with all C. melanodactylus crabs removed than on those with crabs (2.28 ± 0.21 vs. 0.74 ± 0.22 cm/day, respectively); thus, crabs slow WS disease progression under experimental conditions. In choice experiments, C. melanodactylus crabs were strongly attracted to corals with WS lesions, with 87 % of crabs migrating to WS fragments versus 3 % to healthy fragments. The strong attraction of C. melanodactylus to WS-infected corals and their ability to significantly reduce lesion progression rates suggest a mechanism whereby these coral-dwelling crabs could mitigate the effects of WS diseases on reefs.

Item ID: 24647
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: white syndrome, coral disease, corallivores, Cymo melanodactylus
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2013 04:47
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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