DAO 50:35-43 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/dao050035

Vibrio carchariae, a pathogen of the abalone Haliotis tuberculata

J. L. Nicolas1,*, O. Basuyaux2, J. Mazurié3, A. Thébault4

1Laboratoire de Physiologie des Invertébrés, Institut Francais de Recherche pour l¹Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER), BP 70, 29280 Plouzané, France
2Syndicat Mixte pour l¹Equipement du Littoral (SMEL), Zac de Blainville, 50600 Blainville-sur-Mer, France
3Laboratoire de Conchylicole de Bretagne, Institut Francais de Recherche pour l¹Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER), 12 Rue des Résistants, BP 86, 56470 La Trinité-sur-Mer, France
4Laboratoire de Génétique Pathologie, Institut Francais de Recherche pour l¹Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER), BP 133, 17390 La Tremblade, France

ABSTRACT: Since 1997, mass mortality of the abalone Haliotis tuberculata L. has occurred in the natural environment along the French coast. The outbreak of disease started on the south coast of Brittany near Concarneau in 1997, then spread to the north of Brittany (in 1998) and the west coast of Normandy (Golfe de St. Malo in 1999). Between 60 and 80% of the abalone died. In 1999, mortality also affected a land-based abalone farm in Normandy during the summer. At this farm, a Vibrio sp. was isolated in abundance from abalone that had just died. The disease was experimentally reproduced by inoculation or by introducing the pathogen into the surrounding water. This vibrio, identified by genotypic and phenotypic characters, is related to V. carchariae. It is similar to the V. carchariae, responsible for mortality in the Japanese abalone Sulculus diversicolor supratexta, but some phenotypic characters differentiate both strains. In 2000, healthy abalone placed in 2 sites on the north and south coasts of Brittany died, and the pathogen V. carchariae could be isolated from dead individuals, demonstrating that the pathogen was probably the cause of the abalone disease that has been occurring since 1997 in Brittany.

KEY WORDS: Haliotis tuberculata · Vibrio carchariae · Bacterial epizootic · Pathogenicity

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