Excretory calcinosis: a new fatal disease of wild American lobsters Homarus americanus
Dove, ADM and Lobue, C and Bowser, P and Powell, MD, Excretory calcinosis: a new fatal disease of wild American lobsters Homarus americanus, Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 58, (2-3) pp. 215-221. ISSN 0177-5103 (2004) [Refereed Article]
A significant number of moribund and dead lobsters Homarus americanus were reported to New York state authorities by lobster fishers in Long Island Sound (LIS) during the summer of 2002. Morbid lobsters were characterised by an orange discolouration of the abdomen, lethargy, an excess of epibionts and poor post-capture survival. On necropsy, severe extensive multifocal or diffuse mineralised granulomatous inflammation of the gills and antennal glands was the most striking pathology. In the gills, granulomas often occluded the lumen of filaments, resulting in congestion, ischemia and coagulative necrosis of gill tissues. In the antennal glands, granulomas were concentrated along the border between the coelomosac and labyrinth. No significant pathogens were recovered from diseased individuals. In prechronic individuals, however, it was evident that granulomas were focused around calcium carbonate (aragonite) crystals. This disease may result from anomalously high sea-bottom temperatures in LIS (∼23°C) during the summer of 2002 and associated disruptions of the calcium chemistry of lobsters in favour of deposition of minerals in soft tissues. The ultimate cause of death of affected lobsters is probably respiratory failure due to reduced effective surface area of the gills, exacerbated by hypermetabolic temperatures and an abundance of epibionts.