Haliphthoros sp. (Fungus Disease) of Lobsters


Category 4 (Negligible Regulatory Significance in Canada)

Common, generally accepted names of the organism or disease agent

Haliphthoros fungus disease of lobsters.

Scientific name or taxonomic affiliation

Phycomycetous fungus Haliphthoros milfordensis.

Geographic distribution

East and West Coast of United States and is probably ubiquitous.

Host species

Post­larvae of Homarus americanus and Homarus gammarus (=vulgaris) and adult Artemia salina (brine shrimp).

Impact on the host

Infiltration of the exoskeleton by mycelia causing extensive damage, with defensive melanisation. Adhesion of integuments inhibits successful moulting. Secondary infections. High mortality rate.

Diagnostic techniques

Gross Observations: Red-brown melanisation at or near base of legs, in the gills, branchial chamber, other soft parts.

Histology: Mycelia in sections of melanised areas, gills and possibly in hepatopancreas.

Culture: Culture on marine mycological agar.

Methods of control

Careful cleaning and maintenance of rearing systems will help control this husbandry-related disease.


Brock, J.A. and D.V. Lightner. 1990. Diseases of Crustacea. Diseases caused by microorganisms. In: O. Kinne, (ed.). Diseases of Marine Animals. Volume III: Introduction, Cephalopoda, Annelida, Crustacea, Chaetognatha, Echinodermata, Urochordata. Biologische Anstalt Helgoland, Hamburg, p. 335-337.

Fisher, W.S. 1988. Fungus (Haliphthoros) disease of lobsters. In: C.J. Sindermann and D.V. Lightner (eds.). Disease Diagnosis and Control in North American Aquaculture. Developments in Aquaculture and Fisheries Science 17. Elsevier, Amsterdam, p. 251-254.

Citation Information

Bower, S.M., McGladdery, S.E., Price, I.M. (1994): Synopsis of Infectious Diseases and Parasites of Commercially Exploited Shellfish: Haliphthoros sp. (Fungus Disease) of Lobsters.

Date last revised: Fall 1994
Comments to Susan Bower

Date modified: