SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • 16S rRNA;
  • clone library;
  • fluorescence in situ hybridization;
  • Panulirus sp.;
  • scanning electron microscopy;
  • wild phyllosoma

Abstract

Aims:  This study aimed to determine the bacterial community associated with wild-caught, mid-stage larvae of spiny lobsters (Palinuridae) in their native oligotrophic marine environment, and to compare their diversity and composition with communities associated with aquaculture-reared larvae of the tropical rock lobster Panulirus ornatus.

Methods and Results:  Bacterial clone libraries constructed from wild P. ornatus (two libraries) and Panulirus penicillatus (one library) larvae (phyllosoma) revealed a dominance of α-proteobacterial sequences, with Sulfitobacter spp.-affiliated sequences dominating both P. ornatus libraries and constituting a major portion of the P. penicillatus library. Vibrio-related sequences were rarely detected from wild phyllosoma clone libraries in contrast to similar studies of aquaculture-reared animals. Scanning electron microscopy analysis revealed low levels of bacterial colonization on the external carapace of wild phyllosoma, again in contrast to aquaculture-reared animals, which are often colonized with filamentous bacteria (mainly Thiothrix sp.) that compromise their health. Fluorescence in situ hybridization of sectioned wild phyllosoma tissue displayed low overall abundance of bacteria within the tissue and on external surfaces, with α-, β-, and γ-Proteobacteria being confirmed as members of this bacterial community.

Conclusions:  The consistency in predominant clone sequences retrieved from the three libraries indicated a conserved microbiota associated with wild phyllosoma. In addition, the observed differences in the microbial composition and load of reared and wild phyllosoma are indicative of the different environments in which the animals live.

Significance and Impact of the Study:  Bacterial disease during early larval stages is a major constraint currently hindering the development of an aquaculture industry for the ornate rock lobster P. ornatus. Knowledge of the microbial community associated with wild animals will be advantageous for the identification of bacteria that may promote animal health.