DAO 57:127-133 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/dao057127

Effects of shell lesions on survival, growth, condition and reproduction in the New Zealand blackfoot abalone Haliotis iris

Hendrik H. Nollens, Jonathan A. Keogh, P. Keith Probert*

Department of Marine Science, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9001, New Zealand
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: The pathogenicity of shell lesions in Haliotis iris Martyn was examined in a laboratory experiment in which 73 apparently healthy and 106 lesion-bearing abalone were maintained for up to 12 mo. The abalone were collected from the wild and kept in cages (1 ind. cage-1) for 4, 8 or 12 mo, at which times estimates of survival, growth, condition and reproductive capacity were made for each of 3 groups: Œhealthy¹ (n = 73), Œmildly affected¹ (n = 61) and Œseverely affected¹ (n = 32). Unaffected abalone showed a 2.7% mortality (n = 73) compared to 7.5% (n = 93) in lesion-bearing individuals over the entire experiment. Growth rates were significantly decreased in mildly and severely affected abalone: the relative von Bertalanffy growth coefficient (K), calculated over 12 mo, was -0.176 for unaffected, -0.079 for mildly affected and -0.048 for severely affected individuals. The asymptotic length (L) was calculated to be 131.5 mm for unaffected, 142.1 mm for mild affected and 150.3 mm for severely affected abalone. Significantly (p < 0.05) lower condition indices and decreased reproductive capacity (p > 0.05) were obtained for the severely affected group compared to unaffected abalone. These trends were consistent over the course of the experiment.

KEY WORDS: Abalone · Haliotis · Gastropoda · Shell lesion · Mortality · Growth · Condition · Reproductive capacity

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