TEMPORAL VARIATION OF ECTOSYMBIONTS ON RUSTY CRAYFISH (ORCONECTES RUSTICUS) IN A HEADWATER STREAM IN WEST CENTRAL OHIO
Ectosymbiotic organisms can have positive, negative or neutral effects on hosts. For crayfish, most ectosymbionts, such as algae and branchiobdellid worms, are thought to be commensal, but there is some evidence that the branchiobdellid-crayfish relationship can become parasitic with high worm densities. The purpose of this study was to document temporal variation in the prevalence and abundance of two prominent ectosymbionts on rusty crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) over a three year period. During three consecutive fall seasons (2015 - 2017), one hundred crayfish were collected on each of three sampling dates from Hog Creek (Hardin County, Ohio, USA). Carapace length, sex, percent cover of a previously described epizooic chantransia stage (Thorea hispida), branchiobdellid presence and branchiobdellid abundance were recorded for each crayfish. Preliminary data from 2015 indicated that among males, branchiobdellid abundance and percent chantransia cover were positively related to size, perhaps due to greater surface area and less frequent molting. Statistical analysis of data from 2016 and 2017 are currently being employed to provide a more complete picture of the range of variation in ectosymbiont loads from year to year in Hog Creek.
Lauren Govekar (Primary Presenter/Author), Ohio Northern University, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Connor Ney (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Ohio Northern University, Department of Biological & Allied Health Sciences, email@example.com;
Heather Lochotzki (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Ohio Northern University, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Robert Verb (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Ohio Northern University, email@example.com;
Leslie Riley (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Ohio Northern University, firstname.lastname@example.org;