Circumpolar distribution of the pycnogonid-ectoparasitic gastropod Dickdellia labioflecta (Dell, 1990) (Mollusca: Zerotulidae)
The Antarctic gastropod Dickdellia labioflecta (Dell, 1990) (originally described as Laevilittorina (Corneolittorina) labioflecta) is an obligate parasite of pycnogonids, which exploits their body fluids through the cuticular gland holes (Lehmann et al. 2007) and lays its eggs on the pycnogonid's legs where embryos complete their life cycle (Hedgpeth 1964, Sirenko 2000, Lehmann et al. 2007). The ecology of D. labioflecta appears to be unique, as no other examples of such a specialized parasitic behaviour on pycnogonids are known. This life-style and the related anatomical specializations (gut and digestive gland morphology), prompted the erection of a new genus, Dickdellia Warén & Hain, 1996 provisionally included in the family Zerotulidae (Warén & Hain 1996). Although information is quite scant, to date, two pycnogonid host species are known for Dickdellia: Colossendeis megalonyx megalonyx Fry & Hedgpeth, 1969 (Lehmann et al. 2007) and Nymphon isabellae Turpaeva, 2000 (Sirenko 2000).
Authors: Schiaparelli, Stefano, Oliverio, Marco, Taviani, Marco, Griffiths, Huw J. ORCID record for Huw J. Griffiths, Lörz, Anne-Nina, Albertelli, Giancarlo