Opportunistic Predation of the Sea Urchin, Lytechinus variegatus, by the Amphipod, Elasmopus levis, in an Intensive Inland Culture System

Academic Article


  • Invasive and/or opportunistic organisms can negatively influence the success of sea urchin culture operations. To our knowledge, pests associated with sea urchin aquaculture have not been reported. In this study, we report the predatory association of the amphipod, Elasmopus levis (Amphipoda: Melitidae), with the sea urchin, Lytechinus variegatus (Echinodermata: Echinoidea), within an intensive inland culture system. Wild-caught Ly. variegatus broodstock were placed in an intensive culture system, and within their canopy of spines or within transport seawater, populations of epifauna (including amphipods) and microfauna were most likely transferred into the culture system. A growing population of the amphipod developed over time. Associations of the amphipod with the sea urchin were observed to negatively affect the health of the sea urchin, and in some cases, epithelial tissue from the sea urchin test appeared to be consumed by the amphipod. An infestation of these amphipods in commercial sea urchin cultures could have the potential to be costly, and we recommend quarantine and/or water purification procedures be considered to prevent the introduction of pests to inland culture systems. © by the World Aquaculture Society 2011.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Gibbs VK; Brown KA; Powell ML; Watts SA
  • Start Page

  • 364
  • End Page

  • 369
  • Volume

  • 42
  • Issue

  • 3