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Appl Microbiol. 1975 Mar;29(3):388-92.

Bacterial flora of the hemolymph of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus: most probable numbers.


The hemolymph of 290 freshly collected blue crabs from Chincoteague Bay, Va., was sampled over a 15-month period from August 1968 through November 1969 and most probable numbers of bacteria were determined by tube dilution. The hemolymph of 18% of all crabs sampled was found to be sterile, with 16% sterility in summer and 23% in winter samples. Despite individual variations, male crabs as a group had a higher bacterial hemolymph burden than females, and among both sexes summer counts were higher than winter. The hemolymph of crabs with missing appendages had significantly higher counts than uninjuried crabs. The annual mean hemolymph most probable numbers per ml was 2,756 for males, 1,300 for females, and 1,876 for both sexes. The higher bacterial levels found in the hemolymph of male crabs may, in part, be explained by the fact that males, which predominated in the summer samples, had a higher incidence of injury and missing appendages than did females.

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