Epizootic shell disease (ESD) is an emerging disease in American lobster, Homarus americanus, in southern New England (SNE). Monitoring surveys and research projects have been able to identify the initiation of the disease and changing prevalence levels over spatial and temporal landscapes, including demography. The sudden onset of ESD during the late 1990s was centered in SNE, specifically southern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, which have continued to show sustained mediumhigh prevalence levels. Legal and sublegal lobsters are both affected and we can now show that the disease occurs in small juvenile lobsters. Severity indices show little variation over time but ovigerous females have the highest prevalence and severity. Herein, we summarize available information on ESD in SNE.
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Vol. 31 • No. 2