DAO 68:267-271 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/dao068267

Shell disease: abnormal conchiolin deposit in the abalone Haliotis tuberculata

Sylvain Huchette1,2,*, Christine Paillard2, Jacques Clavier2, Robert Day1

1Department of Zoology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville 3052, Victoria, Australia
2Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, URA CNRS 1513, LEMAR, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, BP 809, 29285 Brest Cedex, France

ABSTRACT: Shell disease in the abalone Haliotis tuberculata L. is characterized by a conchiolin deposit on the inner surface of the shell. The gross clinical signs appear similar to the Brown Ring Disease (BRD) of clams. BRD has been extensively described in clams and is known to be responsible for severe mortalities and the collapse of the clam aquaculture industry in western France. In the clam, it was found to be caused by the infection of the mantle by Vibrio tapetis. Brown protein deposits have been observed in various abalone species around the world; some of these have been associated with a fungal infection in New Zealand, but the ones described here are similar to bacterial infections observed in clams. Larger animals appeared to be more affected by the disease, and a positive correlation of the number of successive infections found in the shells with the level of infestation of the shell by borers suggests that boring polychaetes and sponges may be vectors of the disease, or that the parasite infestation may increase the susceptibility of the animal to this infection. There is no evidence, however, that this infection causes mortality in abalone.


KEY WORDS: Shell disease · Bacteria · Haliotis tuberculata · Calcification · Shell aging · Conchiolin deposit


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