This is the first study comparing physiological responses of three decapod species to infection by parasites of the genus Hematodinium, which belongs to the dinoflagellate-like Syndinea. Responses varied profoundly between the crabs Carcinus maenas and Cancer pagurus (Brachyura), but also differed to those of hermit crabs. Pagurus bernhardus (Anomura). Osmoregulatory capacity was reduced significantly in Hematodinium-infected C. maenas, haemolymph pH increased in parasitised C. pagurus and P. bernhardus, and L-lactate concentration decreased in infected P. bernhardus. Changes to tissues and exoskeletons were observed in C pagurus, but not in C maenas and P. bernhardus. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.