DAO 109:55-80 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02723

Cockle Cerastoderma edule fishery collapse in the Ría de Arousa (Galicia, NW Spain) associated with the protistan parasite Marteilia cochillia 

Antonio Villalba1,*, David Iglesias1, Andrea Ramilo1, Susana Darriba2, José M. Parada1, Edgar No1, Elvira Abollo3, José Molares1, María J. Carballal

1Centro de Investigacións Mariñas (CIMA), Consellería do Medio Rural e do Mar, Xunta de Galicia, 36620 Vilanova de Arousa, Spain
2Instituto Tecnolóxico para o Control do Medio Mariño de Galicia (INTECMAR), Consellería do Medio Rural e do Mar, Xunta de Galicia, 36611 Vilagarcía de Arousa, Spain
3Centro Tecnológico del Mar - Fundación CETMAR, 36208 Vigo, Spain
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The highest shellfishery catch in Galicia (NW Spain) has traditionally been cockle Cerastoderma edule. The shellfish bed located in Lombos do Ulla (Ría de Arousa) used to be among those with the highest cockle production; however, cockle mortality rate increased sharply in this bed in April 2012, reaching 100% in May 2012. Salinity and temperature were discounted as potential causes of the mortality. Marteiliosis, which was first detected in February 2012 and reached 100% prevalence in April 2012, was identified as the most probable cause. Marteiliosis had never been detected in Galician cockles, but extensive surveillance of the Galician coast in May to July 2012 detected marteiliosis in most cockle beds of the Ría de Arousa, whereas it was not found in other rías; 2 mo later, the cockle catch in the Ría de Arousa became negligible. Examination of the aetiological agent of marteiliosis with light and transmission electron microscopy supported its assignation to the genus Marteilia; morphological features showed similarity, but not complete identity, with the recently described species M. cochillia Carrasco et al., 2013. Regarding its molecular characterisation, a consensus sequence of 4433 bp containing a partial sequence of the intergenic spacer region, the complete 18S rRNA gene and a partial sequence of the first internal transcribed spacer region was obtained. The obtained sequences were compared with those available for Marteilia spp. and other Paramyxida. Molecular data support that this parasite corresponds to the species M. cochillia, and a PCR assay was designed for its specific diagnosis. The association of huge cockle mortality with M. cochillia infection urges extreme caution to avoid spreading this disease.


KEY WORDS: Marteiliosis · Paramyxida · Mollusc · Ultrastructure · SSU rDNA · ITS · IGS


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Cite this article as: Villalba A, Iglesias D, Ramilo A, Darriba S and others (2014) Cockle Cerastoderma edule fishery collapse in the Ría de Arousa (Galicia, NW Spain) associated with the protistan parasite Marteilia cochillia . Dis Aquat Org 109:55-80. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02723

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