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The biology of Nicothoë astaci Audouin and Milne Edwards

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 May 2009

James Mason
Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen


Nicothoë astaci is a choniostomatid copepod (Gurney, 1929) parasitic on the gills of the lobster, Homarus vulgaris Milne Edwards. In view of the possible effect of Nicothoë on the lobster, which is of considerable commercial importance in Scotland, a programme of work was instituted on the biology of the parasite.

Nicothoë attaches itself by means of its suctorial mouth to a gill filament of the lobster, and the wall of the filament is pierced by the sharp, styliform mandibles. The host's blood is sucked by means of a muscular gullet leading to the stomach. Nicothoë often occurs in groups, especially near the bases of the gills. The adult parasite is incapable of any movement except a slight lateral displacement of the abdomen and, once attached, probably remains in the same position throughout its life. Little is known of the life cycle, and all individuals so far definitely recognized have been females.

Research Article
Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 1959

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