Symbionts of invasive and native crabs, in Argentina: the most recently invaded area on the southwestern Atlantic coastline.
Biological invasions have the capacity to introduce non-native parasites. This study aimed to determine whether the invasive green crab population, Carcinus spp., on the Southwestern Atlantic coast of Argentina harbours any symbionts, and whether these may spillover or spillback between native crabs, Cyrtograpsus altimanus and C. angulatus. Macroscopy, histology, and molecular analyses of some parasites were used to describe and compare their diversity across the three species of crab. We also evaluated the susceptibility of invasive Carcinus spp. to a native digenean, Maritrema madrynense, via experimental infections (exposure and cohabitation). Our results revealed that the green crab pathobiome included similar symbiotic groups to native crabs. This included putative viral, bacterial, and protozoan parasites. Haplosporidium-like observations were recorded in all crab species, and a single green crab was found to be parasitized by an Agmasoma-like microsporidium. Metagenomic analysis of one individual revealed additional symbiotic diversity (46 bacteria, 5 eukaryotic species). The green crabs were infected by more microparasite taxa than the native crabs (5:3). Wild populations of Carcinus spp. were free of metazoan parasites and are shown not to be susceptible to M. madryense under experimental conditions. Our results suggest a reduction/escape of macroparasites (trematode Maritrema madrynense; acanthocephalan Profilicollis chasmagnathi) in invasive Carcinus spp. compared to their native competitors.