White spot syndrome virus (WSSV) is a serious shrimp pathogen that has spread globally to all major shrimp farming areas, causing enormous economic losses. Here we investigate the role of hermit crabs in transmitting WSSV to Penaeus monodon brooders used in hatcheries in Vietnam. WSSV-free brooders became PCR-positive for WSSV within 2 to 14 d, and the source of infection was traced to hermit crabs being used as live feed. Challenging hermit crabs with WSSV confirmed their susceptibility to infection, but they remained tolerant to disease even at virus loads equivalent to those causing acute disease in shrimp. As PCR screening also suggests that WSSV infection occurs commonly in hermit crab populations in both Vietnam and Taiwan, their use as live feed for shrimp brooders is not recommended.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science