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Research Article: Nematode Infections in Tarantulas

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by AphonopelmaTX, Apr 16, 2019.

  1. AphonopelmaTX

    AphonopelmaTX Moderator Staff Member

    Interesting new research article on nematode infections in tarantulas. Includes species identification and signs of infection.

    Nematodes of the Brevibuccidae family were stated among spiders of the Theraphosidae family (the South American species), which were bred in Poland. The first sign of infection was anorexia which led to gradually increasing lethargy progressed to a huddled posture. Additionally, a white discharge with nematodes between mouth and chelicerae was noted. All of the derived nematodes were morphologically identified and determined to the species Tarantobelus arachnicida. A molecular analysis covered amplification and sequencing of small subunit ribosomal RNA (18S rRNA). A post mortem examination demonstrated the presence of nematodes not only near the chelicerae, but also inside the intestine, hence the source of infection might be insects used as a food. The research showed that such kind of infection is an important disease, which poses a serious risk to the breeding spiders. To date there is no effective treatment, however, we demonstrated that usage of the Lugol’s solution seems to be promising.

    Wyrobisz-Papiewska, A., Kowal, J., Łopieńska-Biernat, E., Kornaś, S., Basiaga, M., Nosal, P., Rubaj, S. and Pałasz, W., 2019. Tarantobelus arachnicida (Nematoda: Rhabditida) invasion of exotic spiders in Poland. Annals of Parasitology, 65(1), pp.83-86.

    Read Online
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  2. dangerforceidle

    dangerforceidle Arachnobaron Active Member

    Interesting to note from the article, that the cause of death even in treated spiders was starvation due to paralyzed chelicerae. With an attentive keeper and 'cricket/mealworm soup,' perhaps a spider could survive through a moult once treated with Lugol's solution (noted as being very effective at eradicating the nematode invaders).

    Although, it does note secondary bacterial infection, so perhaps not.
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  3. VanessaS

    VanessaS Grammostola Groupie Arachnosupporter

    Well, that's alarming.
  4. ChaosSphere

    ChaosSphere Arachnopeon

    So the question now is if the spider could survive if feed feeder soup?
  5. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

  6. lostbrane

    lostbrane Arachnobaron Arachnosupporter

    Any idea what exactly makes the paralysis permanent? As in, could it be lack if hemolymph getting to the chelicerae or it not receiving the proper signals from the ganglion? Sorry if I missed it in the article...
  7. dangerforceidle

    dangerforceidle Arachnobaron Active Member

    The author said it wasn't clear, but put forward a hypothesis that it could be damage from a secondary infection, or mechanical damage from the nematodes themselves. Relevant quote below.
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  8. lostbrane

    lostbrane Arachnobaron Arachnosupporter

    Thanks @dangerforceidle for helping me and my blind eyes haha.

    Now to do research on infections.
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  9. AphonopelmaTX

    AphonopelmaTX Moderator Staff Member

    Here is the abstract and reference to Tarantobelus arachnicida, the nematode species discussed. I can't find a source for this online, so if there is anyone out there that can get this paper, please send along in a PM.

    A new genus and new species, Tarantobelus arachnicida, was found in the oral opening of tarantula spiders bred in captivity in Poland. The new species is characterized by having a small body (0.77–0.95 mm long in females and 0.66–0.84 mm in males), cuticle poorly annulated by transverse incisures, lateral field inconspicuous, lips separated with small cuticular flaps topping each lip, stoma panagrolaimoid with gymnostom well developed with robust and refringent rhabdia, pharynx panagrolaimoid with isthmus slightly longer than the basal bulb, intestine with cardiac (anterior) and rectal (posterior) areas with narrower walls. Mature females with intestinal cells including needle crystal packs, excretory pore at isthmus level, female reproductive system panagrolaimoid with post-vulval sac 0.4–0.8 times the length of the corresponding body diameter and having very thick walls, vulva very prominent, female rectum 0.8–1.3 times the length of the anal body diameter, female tail conical with acute tip with phasmids at 58–62% of its length. Male tail conical with long and thin mucro, spicules ventrad bent having rounded manubrium and thick gubernaculum. Description, measurements and illustrations of the new species are provided. Molecular analyses show its relationship with Brevibucca and Cuticonema. On the other hand, Medibulla and its corresponding subfamily Medibullinae, previously in Osstellidae, are transferred to Panagrolaimidae, being Shahnematinae, the junior synonym of Medibullinae. Indocephalobus, recently proposed and located in the family Panagrolaimidae, is considered a junior synonym of Diplogastrellus (Diplogasteromorpha), and its only species, I. zebrae, is considered a junior synonym of D. gracilis. In addition, a key to identification of panagrolaimoid genera is included.

    Abolafia, J. and Peña-Santiago, R., 2017. Morphological and molecular characterization of Tarantobelus arachnicida gen. n., sp. n.(Nematoda, Rhabditida, Brevibuccidae), a parasitic nematode of tarantulas. Journal of helminthology, pp.1-13.

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