Live and Let Live: Invasive Host, Charybdis longicollis (Decapoda: Brachyura: Portunidae), and Invasive Parasite, Heterosaccus dollfusi (Cirripedia: Rhizocephala: Sacculinidae)

  • Gianna InnocentiEmail author
  • Bella S. Galil
Part of the Invading Nature - Springer Series in Invasion Ecology book series (INNA, volume 6)


The Levantine populations of the invasive swimming crab Charybdis longicollis have been parasitized by the rhizocephalan Heterosaccus dollfusi, itself an alien, since 1992. The parasite affects the host morphology, moulting, behaviour, causes its sterilization, and induces mortality. The high prevalence of H. dollfusi can be ascribed to the dense population of the host, the year-round reproduction of the parasite that promotes recurrent re-infection, and the recruitment dynamics that likely permit the synchronous development of both host and parasite. After 17 years, despite the high prevalence of the parasite and its injurious impact on the host reproduction, the invasive host-parasite pair has reached an apparent modus vivendi, with no evident reduction in the host population and with recurrent seasonal high rates of parasitization and multiple externae.


Spring Sample Female Crab Uninfected Female Male Crab Multiple Parasitization 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are deeply grateful to Jørgen Lützen for awakening their interest in this fascinating rhizocephalan barnacle, and to Marco Vannini for helpful suggestions throughout the years. The authors thank Daniela Friedmann, Mel Cooper, Limor Shoval, Eva Mizrahi and Kinneret Gal, IOLR, for their assistance in assembling the material.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sezione di Zoologia “La Specola”Museo di Storia NaturaleFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.National Institute of OceanographyIsrael Oceanographic and Limnological ResearchHaifaIsrael

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