"So, naturalists observe, a flea has smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller still to bite ’em; and so proceed ad infinitum."
- Jonathan Swift

March 27, 2010

March 27 - Haemobaphes diceraus

Haemobaphes diceraus is a parasitic pennellid copepod that is found on a variety of fish species. This is an interesting species because it is a type of crustacean and many people would never think of a crustacean as a parasite. It is also an interesting parasite because it looks nothing like a crustacean in its adult form. This parasitic copepod extends from the gills and into the bulbous ateriosus of the heart where the parasite is anchored. The distinguishing feature of this parasite is the large, spirally coiled egg sacks. These egg sacks project from the gill arch of the host fish. The egg sacks are attached to a trunk which extends into the heart. While some copepods are able to move about freely, this copepod has reduced segmentation and appendages in its adult form (Goater 1996). When the eggs hatch they are released into the water where they undergo a series of molts until they are developed enough to find a host. Pennellids such as the Haemobahes diceraus are unique in that they require an intermediate host. After fertilization of the egg the newly hatched parasite has a free swimming phase. It then locates a fish, attaches itself and grows to adulthood. (Goater and Jepps 2002).

Goater, Tim. 1996. “Parasitic Copepoda.”
Goater, T. and Jepps, S. 2002. Prevalence and Intensity of Haemobaphes diceraus (Copepoda: Pennellidae) from Shiner Perch, Cymatogaster aggregata (Embiotocidae). Journal of Parasitology 88: 194-197.

Contributed by Taylor Phillips, Bucknell University.
Image from this site.

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