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The corallivorous flatworm Amakusaplana acroporae: an invasive species threat to coral reefs?

The corallivorous flatworm Amakusaplana acroporae: an invasive species threat to coral reefs?
The corallivorous flatworm Amakusaplana acroporae: an invasive species threat to coral reefs?
Fatal infestations of land-based Acropora cultures with so-called Acropora-eating flatworms(AEFWs) are a global phenomenon. We evaluate the hypothesis that AEFWs represent a risk to coral reefs by studying the biology and the invasive potential of an AEFW strain from the UK. Molecular analyses identified this strain as Amakusaplana acroporae, a new species described from two US aquaria and one natural location in Australia. Our molecular data together with life history strategies described here suggest that this species accounts for most reported cases of AEFW infestations. We show that local parasitic activity impairs the light-acclimation capacity of the whole host colony. A. acroporae acquires excellent camouflage by harbouring photosynthetically competent, host-derived zooxanthellae and pigments of the green-fluorescent protein family. It shows a preference for Acropora valida but accepts a broad host range. Parasite survival in isolation (5–7 d) potentially allows for an invasion when introduced as non-native species in coral reefs.
acropora-eating flatworms, amakusaplana acroporae, invasive species, gfp-like fluorescent proteins, corallivory, photoprotection, green fluorescent protein, biomarker
0722-4028
267-272
Hume, Benjamin Charles Clayton
ba5ae4b2-4e84-431c-985a-7c89cec5f976
D’Angelo, Cecilia
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Cunnington, Anna
1781d1af-dfff-4a60-b6ce-d2e01c1fc4be
Smith, Edward G.
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Wiedenmann, Jörg
ad445af2-680f-4927-90b3-589ac9d538f7
Hume, Benjamin Charles Clayton
ba5ae4b2-4e84-431c-985a-7c89cec5f976
D’Angelo, Cecilia
0d35b03b-684d-43aa-a57a-87212ab07ee1
Cunnington, Anna
1781d1af-dfff-4a60-b6ce-d2e01c1fc4be
Smith, Edward G.
bc4bde94-8c86-46c3-8c1c-9fe8c72fb43e
Wiedenmann, Jörg
ad445af2-680f-4927-90b3-589ac9d538f7

Hume, Benjamin Charles Clayton, D’Angelo, Cecilia, Cunnington, Anna, Smith, Edward G. and Wiedenmann, Jörg (2014) The corallivorous flatworm Amakusaplana acroporae: an invasive species threat to coral reefs? Coral Reefs, 33 (1), 267-272. (doi:10.1007/s00338-013-1101-6).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Fatal infestations of land-based Acropora cultures with so-called Acropora-eating flatworms(AEFWs) are a global phenomenon. We evaluate the hypothesis that AEFWs represent a risk to coral reefs by studying the biology and the invasive potential of an AEFW strain from the UK. Molecular analyses identified this strain as Amakusaplana acroporae, a new species described from two US aquaria and one natural location in Australia. Our molecular data together with life history strategies described here suggest that this species accounts for most reported cases of AEFW infestations. We show that local parasitic activity impairs the light-acclimation capacity of the whole host colony. A. acroporae acquires excellent camouflage by harbouring photosynthetically competent, host-derived zooxanthellae and pigments of the green-fluorescent protein family. It shows a preference for Acropora valida but accepts a broad host range. Parasite survival in isolation (5–7 d) potentially allows for an invasion when introduced as non-native species in coral reefs.

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e-pub ahead of print date: November 2013
Published date: March 2014
Keywords: acropora-eating flatworms, amakusaplana acroporae, invasive species, gfp-like fluorescent proteins, corallivory, photoprotection, green fluorescent protein, biomarker
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 360272
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/360272
ISSN: 0722-4028
PURE UUID: b0f7cd2d-f66b-4e04-981a-8b3314876308
ORCID for Jörg Wiedenmann: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2128-2943

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Date deposited: 02 Dec 2013 15:16
Last modified: 29 Oct 2019 01:47

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