Title

Salinity and Temperature Effects on the Reproductive Success of the Leech Myzobdella lugubris

Presenting Author Name/s

Jonathan Blubaugh

Faculty Advisor

David Gauthier

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Disciplines

Biology

Description/Abstract

Largemouth Bass in Back Bay, Virginia have been observed to be infested with leeches in their oral cavity since 2012. The leeches cause severe ulceration and bleeding with unknown health effects. In 2016, the leeches infesting the bass were identified as Myzobdella lugubris and health effects of the leeches were examined. While the leeches were not observed to have major effects on the health of the bass, there is still very little known about how the leeches are transported into the bay and spread amongst hosts. We have observed leech cocoons deposited on the carapace of blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus, and believe this is how the leeches are transported and disseminated in Back Bay. Blue crabs migrate into the deeper water of the bay during the summer months. For the leeches to have been brought into the bay this way, the leeches and cocoons must be able to survive in a wide range of salinities when being brought from the Atlantic Ocean through the Currituck Sound into Back Bay. The water temperature in Back Bay also varies with season and could influence reproductive success of M. lugubris. This study aims to determine the effects of three temperatures (15, 23, 30 °C) and four salinities (0, 3, 5, 10 ppt) on the reproductive abilities of the leeches to understand the seasonality and distribution of leech infestation in Back Bay, Virginia.

Session Title

Biological Sciences 1 Presentations

Location

Learning Commons @ Perry Library Conference Room 1310

Start Date

3-2-2018 9:00 AM

End Date

3-2-2018 10:00 AM

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Feb 3rd, 9:00 AM Feb 3rd, 10:00 AM

Salinity and Temperature Effects on the Reproductive Success of the Leech Myzobdella lugubris

Learning Commons @ Perry Library Conference Room 1310

Largemouth Bass in Back Bay, Virginia have been observed to be infested with leeches in their oral cavity since 2012. The leeches cause severe ulceration and bleeding with unknown health effects. In 2016, the leeches infesting the bass were identified as Myzobdella lugubris and health effects of the leeches were examined. While the leeches were not observed to have major effects on the health of the bass, there is still very little known about how the leeches are transported into the bay and spread amongst hosts. We have observed leech cocoons deposited on the carapace of blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus, and believe this is how the leeches are transported and disseminated in Back Bay. Blue crabs migrate into the deeper water of the bay during the summer months. For the leeches to have been brought into the bay this way, the leeches and cocoons must be able to survive in a wide range of salinities when being brought from the Atlantic Ocean through the Currituck Sound into Back Bay. The water temperature in Back Bay also varies with season and could influence reproductive success of M. lugubris. This study aims to determine the effects of three temperatures (15, 23, 30 °C) and four salinities (0, 3, 5, 10 ppt) on the reproductive abilities of the leeches to understand the seasonality and distribution of leech infestation in Back Bay, Virginia.