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Bizarre parasite may provide cuttlefish clues
Date:4/15/2014

also battling environmental conditions such as strong water currents and varying salinity.

"Somehow this tiny organism just a few cells in size manages this complex and highly specific reinfection and the astonishing life cycle beings again."

This high degree of specificity means the parasites have potential use as "biological tags" to help assess population structures of cephalopods, including the iconic giant Australian cuttlefish.

"We looked at the dicyemids in two species of cuttlefish, the giant Australian cuttlefish and the nova cuttlefish, from various localities in South Australian waters," Dr Catalano says. "We found different dicyemid species infected each cuttlefish species at different localities, suggesting there are unique populations of each host species in South Australian waters.

"As such, this offers support for the use of dicyemid parasites as biological tags and we hope to be able to use these parasites to tell us more about cephalopod population structure to assist in management plans."


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Contact: Dr. Sarah Catalano
61-437-574-880
University of Adelaide
Source:Eurekalert

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