DAO 37:73-80 (1999)  -  doi:10.3354/dao037073

Susceptibility of a number of bivalve species to the protozoan parasite Bonamia ostreae and their ability to act as vectors for this parasite

S. C. Culloty1,*, B. Novoa2, M. Pernas2, M. Longshaw3, M. F. Mulcahy1, S. W. Feist3, A. Figueras2

1Dept. of Zoology and Animal Ecology, University College Cork, National University of Ireland, Lee Maltings, Prospect Row, Cork, Ireland
2Instituto Investigaciones Marinas CSIC, Eduardo Cabello 6, E-36208 Vigo, Spain
3CEFAS, Weymouth Laboratory, Barrack Rd, The Nothe, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8UB, United Kingdom

ABSTRACT: The protozoan parasite Bonamia ostreae (Pichot et al., 1980) is a serious pathogen of the native European flat oyster Ostrea edulis. Field and laboratory based experiments were carried out in Ireland and Spain to investigate the susceptibility to this protozoan of the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas, the mussels Mytilus edulis and Mytilus galloprovincialis, the European native clam Ruditapes decussatus and the Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum. Their ability to act as vectors or intermediate hosts was also investigated. The study corroborated previous findings that demonstrated that flat oysters can be successfully infected both naturally in the field and experimentally in the laboratory, and the pathogen can be transmitted directly between flat oysters in the laboratory. However, the other bivalves tested could not be infected with the parasite either naturally or experimentally, and these bivalves did not appear to act as vectors or intermediate hosts for the parasite. These results have implications for movements of bivalves between areas within the European Union.

KEY WORDS: Bonamia ostreae · Bonamiasis · Ostrea edulis · Crassostrea gigas · Mytilus edulis · Mytilus galloprovincialis · Ruditapes decussatus · Ruditapes philippinarum · Transmission experiments · European Union directives

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