Modelling the lethargic crab disease

C. P. Ferreira*, M. R. Pie, L. Esteva, P. F.A. Mancera, W. A. Boeger, A. Ostrensky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The lethargic crab disease (LCD) is an emergent infirmity that has decimated native populations of the mangrove land crab (Ucides cordatus, Decapoda: Ocypodidae) along the Brazilian coast. Several potential etiological agents have been linked with LCD, but only in 2005 was it proved that it is caused by an ascomycete fungus. This is the first attempt to develop a mathematical model to describe the epidemiological dynamics of LCD. The model presents four possible scenarios, namely, the trivial equilibrium, the disease-free equilibrium, endemic equilibrium, and limit cycles arising from a Hopf bifurcation. The threshold values depend on the basic reproductive number of crabs and fungi, and on the infection rate. These scenarios depend on both the biological assumptions and the temporal evolution of the disease. Numerical simulations corroborate the analytical results and illustrate the different temporal dynamics of the crab and fungus populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)620-634
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Biological Dynamics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2009


  • Endemic equilibrium
  • Hopf bifurcation
  • Lethargic crab disease
  • Mangrove crab
  • Mathematical model


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