Occurrence of the protozoan parasites Toxoplasma gondii and Cyclospora cayetanensis in the invasive Atlantic blue crab Callinectes sapidus from the lesina lagoon (se Italy).
The occurrence of the protozoan parasites Toxoplasma gondii and Cyclospora cayetanensis was molecularly investigated in the hemolymph, gills, stomach, hepatopancreas and gonads of the eleven invasive Atlantic blue crab Callinectes sapidus from the Lesina Lagoon (Mediterranean Sea). Out of 11 blue crabs, 6 (54.5%) and 4 (36.4%) were found positive to T. gondii and C. cayetanenis, respectively; parasites were found only in the six females analysed, while the remaining five males resulted negative. Moreover, out of 55 tissues samples, 7 (12.7%) and 8 (14.5%) were positive to T. gondii and C. cayetanensis, respectively with hemolymph and gills being the most infected tissues. This is the first report of the presence of protozoan pathogens in wild crab species collected from a Mediterranean lagoon. The present results may provide a baseline reference on microbial infection in the species for invaded Mediterranean waters, and on the potential health risks related with its consumption if eaten raw.