Exploring Crustacean Health: Effect of Profilicollis botulus Infection on the Behaviour of Carcinus maenas and Antilipopolysaccharide Factor Phylogeny in Decapoda
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Learning more about crustacean health and immunity is important to protect them from infections and disease outbreaks. Little is known about the evolution of antilipopolysaccharide factors (ALFs), so this study examined the phylogeny of 291 ALF sequences of decapods using unrooted Maximum Likelihood trees. Due to the heterogeneity of the trees, it is likely that ALFs evolved over a series of successive gene duplications followed by neofunctionalization. The acanthocephalan Profilicollis botulus has the intermediate host Carcinus maenas. The goal of this project was to identify whether infected crabs displayed different behaviours compared to uninfected ones. Three behaviour trials were conducted on crabs (n = 37) from a Nova Scotia population (mirror approach test, open field test, and background preference test). No significant differences were detected between infected and uninfected crabs. This has interesting implications for our knowledge of acanthocephalans, as host manipulation is predicted to be their ancestral trait.