Marine Biology

, Volume 161, Issue 2, pp 261–273 | Cite as

Genotypic variation in the parasitic dinoflagellate Hematodinium perezi along the Delmarva Peninsula, Virginia

  • Katrina M. Pagenkopp Lohan
  • Jan R. McDowell
  • Jeffrey D. Shields
  • Kimberly S. ReeceEmail author
Original Paper


Hematodinium perezi (genotype III) is a parasitic dinoflagellate that infects blue crabs along the eastern seaboard and Gulf of Mexico, USA. In order to examine the intra-specific genetic variation of this parasite, eleven microsatellite markers from H. perezi (III) were amplified from 227 infected blue crabs collected during 2008–2009 from six sites in Virginia. Simultaneous infections with multiple genetic types in a single-host individual were common and observed in 42 % of the samples. The remaining 58 % of samples had a single allele per locus at all eight polymorphic loci suggesting that the life history stages of the parasite in the host hemolymph are likely haploid. The composition and distribution of multi-locus genotypes (MLG) from samples with infections of a single genetic type indicated high genotypic variation along the Delmarva Peninsula, Virginia, with no evidence of population structure. The lack of linkage disequilibrium combined with the large number of unique MLGs (84 %) is strong evidence for recombination in the life cycle, but the sexual stages remain undetermined. This is the first evidence of ploidy level, infections by multiple genetic types in an individual host animal, high levels of genotypic variation, and sexual reproduction for any species of Hematodinium.


Microsatellite Locus Dinoflagellate Sexual Reproduction Collection Site Blue Crab 
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.



We are grateful to those who helped with the sample collection including Dr. Caiwen Li, Dr. Tom Dolan, Kersten Wheeler, Anna Coffey, Peter Coffey, Christopher Magel, Kelly Delaney, Bhae-Jin Peemoeller, and David Gibbs. Drs. Hamish Small and Jessica Moss Small helped with sample collection and discussion. We thank Sean Fate, Alan Birch, and Edward Smith of the VIMS Eastern Shore Laboratory for their able boat handling and critical help in the field. Gail Scott, Alanna MacIntyre, and Annie Dershem assisted with the molecular laboratory work. Drs. David Gauthier, Allen Place, Emmett Duffy, and three anonymous reviewers offered comments on early versions of this manuscript. This project was funded by Evolution and Ecology of Infectious Diseases Program Grant, National Science Foundation (OCE BE-UF #0723662). This manuscript is contribution number 3315 of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katrina M. Pagenkopp Lohan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jan R. McDowell
    • 1
  • Jeffrey D. Shields
    • 1
  • Kimberly S. Reece
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.The Virginia Institute of Marine ScienceThe College of William and MaryGloucester PointUSA
  2. 2.Smithsonian Conservation Biology InstituteCenter for Conservation and Evolutionary GeneticsWashingtonUSA

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