First report of epibiont communities on Narrow-clawed crayfish, Astacus leptodactylus Eschscholtz, 1823 (Decapoda: Astacidae) from Shiyan dam reservoir, western Iran


  • Pouria Heshmatzad Department of Fisheries, Faculty of Fisheries and Environmental Sciences, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran
  • Somaye Vaissi



Biodiversity, Parasitological surveys , Protozoan species, Metazoan diversity , Kermanshah


This study investigates epibiont communities, including both protozoan and metazoan species, associated with Astacus leptodactylus in the Shiyan Dam reservoir situated in the Kermanshah province of western Iran. A total of 220 crayfish were collected for comprehensive parasitological surveys, targeting various body parts, including the gills, exoskeleton, mouth cavity, and internal organs. Protozoan species identified included Cothurnia sieboldii, Chilodonella sp., Vorticella similis, Zoothamnium sp., and Pyxicola annulata. In the metazoan category, notable species consisted of Branchiobdella kozarovi (Annelida), Philodina acuticornis (Rotatoria), Rabdochona sp. (Nematoda), and Mesocyclops strennus (Copepoda). P. acuticornis exhibited the highest prevalence among gill epibionts at 18.2%, while Chilodonella sp. showed the lowest prevalence at 0.9%. The study also revealed seasonal variations, with the highest infestation occurring in spring (82%), and the lowest in winter (24%). This research presents the first documented evidence of epibionts on A. leptodactylus in western Iran.


Abelló, P, Villanueva, R., & Gili, J. M. (1990). Epibiosis in deep-sea crab populations as indicator of biological and behavioural characteristics of the host. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 70(4), 687–695.

Abelló, Pere, & Macpherson, E. (1992). Epibiosis and Rhizocephalan infestation patterns in relation to the reproductive biology of Lithodes ferox (Filhol, 1885) (Anomura: Lithodidae). Journal of Crustacean Biology, 12(4), 561–570.

Ackefors, H. E. G. (2000). Freshwater crayfish farming technology in the 1990s: a European and global perspective. Fish and Fisheries, 1(4), 337–359.

Alderman, D. J., & Polglase, J. L. (1988). Pathogens, parasites and commensals. In: Holdich, D.M., Lowery, R.S. (Eds.), Freshwater Crayfish—Biology, Management and Exploitation. Croom Helm. London. Pp. 167– 212.

Asgharnia, M. (2017). Determination of parasite fauna on freshwater crayfish “Astacus leptodactylus” (Eschscholtz, 1823) in the Arass dam reservoir, northwest of Iran. Journal of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, 2017(6), 1–7.

Cairns, J., & McCormick, P. V. (1993). Protists as indicators of water quality in marine environments. In Handbook of hazardous materials (pp. 627–638). Elsevier.

Corliss, J. O. (1979). The ciliated Protozoa: characterization, classification and guide to the literature. 2nd Ed. New York: Pergamon Press.

Currick, H. J., Fahnenstiel, G. L., & Taylor, W. D. (1992). Growth and production of planktonic protozoa in Lake Michigan: In situ versus in vitro comparisons and importance to food web dynamics. Limnology and Oceanography, 37(6), 1221–1235.

De Smet, W. H., & Verolet, M. (2016). Epibiotic rotifers of Gammarus pulex (L.) (Crustacea, Amphipoda), with descriptions of two new species and notes on the terminology of the trophi. Zootaxa, 4107(3), 301–320.

Duris, Z., Horká, I., Kristian, J., & Kozák, P. (2006). Some cases of macro-epibiosis on the invasive crayfish Orconectes limosus in the Czech Republic. Bulletin Français de La Pêche et de La Pisciculture, 380–381, 1325–1337.

Dvoretsky, A. G., & Dvoretsky, V. G. (2022). Epibiotic communities of common crab species in the coastal Barents Sea: Biodiversity and infestation patterns. Diversity, 14(1), 6.

Fernandez-Leborans, G. (2001). A review of the species of protozoan epibionts on crustaceans. iii. Chonotrich ciliates. Crustaceana, 74(6), 581–607.

Fernandez-Leborans, G. (2003). Comparative distribution of protozoan epibionts on Mysis relicta Lovén, 1869 (Mysidacea) from three lakes in northern Europe. Crustaceana, 76(9), 1037–1054.

Fernandez-Leborans, G. (2010). Epibiosis in Crustacea: an overview. Crustaceana, 83(5), 549–640.

Fernandez-Leborans, G., & Fernandez-Fernandez, D. (2002). Protist functional groups in a sublittoral estuarine epibenthic area. Estuaries, 25(3), 382–392.

Fernandez-Leborans, G., & Gabilondo, R. (2006). Inter-annual variability of the epibiotic community on Pagurus bernhardus from Scotland. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 66(1–2), 35–54.

Fernandez-Leborans, G., Hanamura, Y., Siow, R., & Chee, P.-E. (2009). Intersite epibiosis characterization on dominant mangrove crustacean species from Malaysia. Contributions to Zoology, 78(1), 9–23.

Fernandez-Leborans, G., & von Rintelen, K. (2007). Epibiontic communities on the freshwater shrimp Caridina ensifera (Crustacea, Decapoda, Atyidae) from Lake Poso (Sulawesi, Indonesia). Journal of Natural History, 41, 2891–2917.

Fernando, C. H. (1972). Methods for the study of freshwater fish parasites. University of Waterloo Biology Series; No. 12.

Foissner, W. (1979). Peritrichous ciliates (Protozoa: Ciliophora) from alpine pools. Zoologische Jahrbücher Systematik, 106, 529–558.

Gelder, S. R., Delmastro, G. B., & Ferraguti, M. (1994). A report on branchiobdellidans (Annelida: Clitellata) and a taxonomic key to the species in northern Italy, including the first record of Cambarincola mesochoreus on the introduced American red swamp crayfish. Italian Journal of Zoology, 61, 179–183.

Grabda, E., & Wierzbicka, J. (1969). The problem of parasitism of the species of the genus Branchiobdella Odier, 1823. Polskie Archiwum Hydrobiologii, 16, 93–104.

Hall, R. (2001). Protozoology. International Book Dist., Lucknow.

Harlioglu, M. (2004). The present situation of freshwater crayfish, Astacus leptodactylus (Eschscholtz, 1823) in Turkey. Aquaculture, 230, 181–187.

Harlioğlu, M. M., & Harlioğlu, A. G. (2006). Threat of non-native crayfish introductions into Turkey: global lessons. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 16(2), 171–181.

Heshmatzad, P., Mokhayer, B., & Emadi, H. (2013). Survey of length - weight relationship of Astacus leptodactylus in Shian dam Kermanshah Province. Journal of Marine Science and Technology Research, 8(3), 9–19.

Hoffman, G. L. (1967). Parasites of north American freshwater fishes. University of California Press, Los Angeles. 486P.

Holdich, D. M., Sibley, P., & Peay, S. (2004). The White-clawed Crayfish - A decade on. British Wildlife, 15, 153–164.

Karimpour, M., Harlioğlu, M. M., & Aksu, Ö. (2011). Status of freshwater crayfish (Astacus leptodactylus) in Iran. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems, 401, 18.

Kudoo, R. R. (1977). Protozoology. Charles C. Thomas, Springfield II, Pp. 1174. MATTHES D., GUHL W., 1973. Sessile Ciliaten Der Flusskrebse. Protistologica, IX(4), 459-470.

Lee, J. J., Small, E. B., Lynn, D. H., & Bovee, E. C. (1985). Some techniques for collecting, cultivating and observing protozo. Pp. 1–8 in Lee, J.J., Hutner, S.H. and Bovee, E.C. Eds. An Illustrated Guide to the Protozoa. Society of Protozoologists, Allen Press, Lawrence, Kansas.

Lu, B., Shen, Z., Zhang, Q., Hu, X., Warren, A., & Song, W. (2020). Morphology and molecular analyses of four epibiotic peritrichs on crustacean and polychaete hosts, including descriptions of two new species (Ciliophora, Peritrichia). European Journal of Protistology, 73, 125670.

Lynn, D. H., & Small, E. B. (2000). Phylum Ciliophora. In: Lee JJ, Leedale GF, Bradbury P, Editors. An Illustrated Guide to the Protozoa. Lawrence (KS): Allen Press. p 371–656.

Malekzadeh-Viayeh, R., & Tafi, A.-A. (2017). Biology and Aquaculture of Lobsters, with outlines of the Biology of other Decapod Crustaceans. Haghshenass Publication, Rasht-Iran.

Matthes, D., & Guhl, W. (1973). Sessile ciliation der flusskrebse. Protistologica, 4, 459–470.

Mayén-Estrada, R., & Aladro-Lubel, M. A. (2001). Epibiont peritrichids (Ciliophora: Peritrichida: Epistylididae) on the crayfish Cambarellus patzcuarensis in Lake Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico. Journal of Crustacean Biology, 21(2), 426–434.

Morado, J. F., & Small, E. B. (1995). Ciliate parasites and related diseases of crustacea: A review. Reviews in Fisheries Science, 3(4), 275–354.

Moszyński, A. S. (1938). Quelques remarques sur les Branchiobdellidae européens. Annales Musei Zoologici Polonici, 13(9), 89–103.

Nekuie fard, A., Iran, Motallebi, A., B, J., M, A., Dariush, A., & Afsharnasab, M. (2011). Survey on fungal, parasites and epibionts infestation on the Astacus leptodactylus (Eschscholtz, 1823), in Aras reservoir West Azarbaijan, Iran. Iranian Journal of Fisheries Sciences, 10, 266.

Nekuie Fard, A, Afsharnasab, M., Seidgar, M., Kakoolaki, S., Azadikhah, D., & Asem, A. (2015). Protozoan epibionts on Astacus leptodactylus (Eschscholtz, 1823) from Aras reservoir, Northwest Iran, Iranian Journal of Fisheries Science, 14(2), 308–320.

Nekuie Fard, Ali. (2010). Survey on fungal, parasites and epibionts infestation on the Astacus leptodactylus (Eschscholtz, 1823), in Aras reservoir West Azarbaijan, Iran. Islamic Azad University Science and Research Branch.

Ninni, A. P. (1864). Sulla mortalità dei gamberi (Astacus fluviatilis) nel Veneto e piùparticolarmente nella provincia trevigiana. Veneto, 3, 1203– 1209.

Pop, V. (1965). Systematische Revision der europäischen Branchiobdelliden (Oligochaeta). Zoologischer Jahresbericht. Abteilung für Systematik, Ökologie, und Geographie der Tiere, 92, 219–238.

Porter, K. G., Sherr, E. B., Sherr, B. F., Pace, M., & Sanders, R. W. (1985). Protozoa in planktonic food webs 1, 2. The Journal of Protozoology, 32(3), 409–415.

Quaglio, F., Morolli, C., Galuppi, R., Tampier, M. P., Marcer, F., & Rotundo, G. (2004). Pathological investigation on crayfish (Procambarus clarkii, Girard 1852) from canals in Padana Plain. XV Symposium of the International Association of Astacology. London, 29 March-2 April 2004. Book of the Abstracts, p. 45.

Quaglio, Francesco. (2006). Preliminary investigations of disease-causing organisms in the white-clawed crayfish austropotamobius pallipes complex from streams of northern Italy. Reana Del Rojale, 33010, 380–381.

Ross, D. M. (1983). Symbiotic relations. In: Bliss DE, Editor. The Biology of Crustacea. Volume 7. New York: Academic Press. p 163–212.

Sint, D., Dalla Via, J., & Füreder, L. (2005). Morphological variations in Astacus astacus L. and Austropotamobius pallipes (Lereboullet) populations. Bulletin Français de La Pêche et de La Pisciculture, 376–377, 637–652.

Smit, N. J., Bruce, N. L., & Hadfield, K. A. (2019). Parasitic Crustacea: State of knowledge and future trends (Vol. 3). Springer.

Souty-Grosset, C., Holdich, D. M., Nöel, P. Y., Reynolds, J., & Haffner, P. H. (2006). Atlas of Crayfish in Europe. Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris, 187 p. (Patrimoines naturels ; 64).

Spiridonov, V. A., Simakova, U. V, Anosov, S. E., Zalota, A. K., & Timofeev, V. A. (2020). Review of Macropodia in the Black Sea supported by molecular barcoding data; with the redescription of the type material, observations on ecology and epibiosis of Macropodia czernjawskii (Brandt, 1880) and notes on other Atlanto-Mediterranean species of Macropodia Leach, 1814 (Crustacea, Decapoda, Inachidae). Zoosystematics and Evolution, 96(2), 609–635.

Tanabe, Y., Hayashi, R., Tomioka, S., & Kakui, K. (2017). Hexapleomera urashima sp. nov. (Crustacea: Tanaidacea), a tanaidid epibiotic on loggerhead sea turtles at Yakushima Island, Japan. Zootaxa, 4353(1), 146–160.

Threlkeld, S. T., Chiavelli, D. A., & Willey, R. L. (1993). The organization of zooplankton epibiont communities. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 8(9), 317–321.

Utz, L. R. P. (2004). Identification, life history, and ecology of peritrich ciliates as epibionts on calanoid copepods in the Chesapeake Bay. University of Maryland, College Park.

Vogt, G. (1999). Diseases of European freshwater crayfish, with particular emphasis on interspecific transmission of pathogens. In Crayfish in Europe as Alien Species (1st Editio, pp. 87–103).

Wahl, M, Hay, M. E., & Enderlein, P. (1997). Effects of epibiosis on consumer–prey interactions. Hydrobiologia, 355(1), 49–59.

Wahl, M. (1989). Marine epibiosis. I. Fouling and antifouling: some basic aspects. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 58, 175–189.

Westman, K. (2002). Alien crayfish in Europe: negative and positive impacts and interactions with native crayfish. In Invasive aquatic species of Europe. Distribution, impacts and management (pp. 76–95). Springer.

Williams, J. D., & McDermott, J. J. (2004). Hermit crab biocoenoses: a worldwide review of the diversity and natural history of hermit crab associates. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 305(1), 1–128.




How to Cite

Heshmatzad, P., & Vaissi, S. (2023). First report of epibiont communities on Narrow-clawed crayfish, Astacus leptodactylus Eschscholtz, 1823 (Decapoda: Astacidae) from Shiyan dam reservoir, western Iran. Journal of Wildlife and Biodiversity, 8(1), 1–16.