Carcinonemertes australiensis of Lobsters


Category 3 (Host Not in Canada)

Common, generally accepted names of the organism or disease agent

Nemertean worm predation of crustacean eggs, Lobster egg worm.

Scientific name or taxonomic affiliation

Carcinonemertes australiensis. Other species of nemertean worms have been reported from lobsters and crabs.

Geographic distribution

Western Australia.

Host species

Panulirus cygnus, and an unidentified species of nemertean worm has been reported from Panulirus interruptus in California.

Impact on the host

From one to 50 specimens found in the egg mass of ovigerous female hosts and are suspected of feeding on the eggs of the spiny lobster.

Diagnostic techniques

Gross Observations: Nemerteans up to 7 mm long and about 1 mm in maximum width which is uniform throughout except for a slight narrowing at the posterior tip, translucent white in colour, rounded at both extremities and with two black eyes in front of the cerebral ganglia. In recently fed individuals the gut contents exhibit the same orange-red hue as the eggs of the palinuran host.

Methods of control

No known methods of prevention or control.


Campbell, A., R. Gibson and L.H. Evans. 1989. A new species of Carcinonemertes (Nemertea: Carcinonemertidae) ectohabitant on Panulirus cygnus (Crustacea: Palinuridae) from Western Australia. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 95: 257-268.

Wickham, D.E. and A.M. Kuris. 1985. The comparative ecology of nemertean egg predators. American Zoologist 25: 127-134.

Citation Information

Bower, S.M. (1996): Synopsis of Infectious Diseases and Parasites of Commercially Exploited Shellfish: Carcinonemertes australiensis of Lobsters.

Date last revised: September 1996
Comments to Susan Bower

Date modified: