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Parasites and biotic diseases in field and cultivated sea cucumbers
Eeckhaut, I.; Parmentier, E.; Becker, P.; Gomez da Silva, S.; Jangoux, M. (2004). Parasites and biotic diseases in field and cultivated sea cucumbers, in: Lovatelli, A. et al. (Ed.) Advances in sea cucumber aquaculture and management. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper = FAO Document technique sur les pêches, 463: pp. 311-325
In: Lovatelli, A. et al. (Ed.) (2004). Advances in sea cucumber aquaculture and management. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper = FAO Document technique sur les pêches, 463. FAO: Rome. ISBN 92-5105-163-1. 438 pp.
In: FAO Fisheries Technical Paper = FAO Document technique sur les pêches. FAO: Roma. ISSN 0429-9345

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  • Eeckhaut, I.
  • Parmentier, E.
  • Becker, P.
  • Gomez da Silva, S.
  • Jangoux, M.

Abstract
    Amongst echinoderms, the Holothuroidea represents the class that is the most infested by parasites. Parasites of holothuroids are Bacteria, Protozoa and Metazoa. There are about 150 species of metazoans which parasite holothuroids. Most of them are turbellarians, gastropods, copepods, crabs or fishes. The main body compartments suffering of the infestations are the digestive system and the coelom. The diseases induced by metazoan parasites are mostly structural: they create galls at the surface of the epidermis, pierce the respiratory tree or dig into the body wall down to the coelom. Most metazoans that live in the digestive system do not induce obvious diseases and their relationship with their hosts is probably close to commensalism. Most Protozoa that parasite holothuroids are sporozoans. They occur mainly in the coelom and/or the haemal system, one species having been reported infesting the gonads. Even in heavily infested hosts, the signs of disease induced by sporozoans are low: at most, host haemal lacuna is occluded by trophozoites or cysts are formed into the coelomic epithelium.The most pathogen agents reported from cultured sea cucumbers are Bacteria. Cultivated holothuroids may suffer from a bacterial disease, called skin ulceration disease, that affects their body wall. In particular, juvenile Holothuria scabra reared in the Aqua-Lab hatchery of Toliara, Madagascar, suffered from such a disease that caused death within three days. The first sign of the infection is a white spot that appears on the integument of individuals, close to the cloacal aperture. The spot extends quickly onto the whole integument leading to the death of individuals. The lesions consist in a zone where the epidermis is totally destroyed and where collagen fibres and ossicles are exposed to the external medium. This zone is surrounded by a border line where degrading epidermis is mixed with connective tissue. Lesions include three bacterial morphotypes: rod-shaped bacteria, rough ovoid bacteria, and smooth ovoid bacteria. Three species of bacteria have also been put in evidence in the white spot lesions thanks to biomolecular analyses (DGGE and sequencing): Vibrio sp., Bacteroides sp., and an ?-Proteobacterium.

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