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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 85:209-215 (2009)  -  DOI:

Long-term parasitic association between the boring polychaete Polydora bioccipitalis and Mesodesma donacium

José M. Riascos1,2,*, Nury Guzmán3, Jürgen Laudien2, Marcelo E. Oliva1, Olaf Heilmayer2,4, Luc Ortlieb3

1Universidad de Antofagasta, Instituto de Investigaciones Oceanológicas, Avenida Angamos 601, Antofagasta, Chile
2Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Am Alten Hafen 26, 27568 Bremerhaven, Germany
3Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), PALEOTROPIQUE (Paléoenvironnements tropicaux et variabilité  climatique), 32 Avenue Henri Varagnat, 93143 Bondy Cedex, France
4International Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research c/o German Aerospace Center (DLR), Heinrich-Konen-Str. 1, 53227 Bonn, Germany

ABSTRACT: Polydora and related genera are common pests for molluscs. Establishing differences between native species and recent invaders provides the basis for understanding the effect of parasites and has implications for resource management. P. biocipitalis has been reported as a recently introduced species to the Chilean–Peruvian coast, raising concerns about its threat to native bivalve species. In contrast, studies on the infestation of P. bioccipitalis on the surf clam Mesodesma donacium, one of the most important species for shellfisheries, suggest a long-term parasitic relationship. The present study analyses infested (i.e. blistered) fossil shells of M. donacium deposited during the Holocene and Middle Pleistocene epochs and critically reviews evidence supporting the hypothesis of the recent introduction of P. bioccipitalis to the Chilean–Peruvian coast. The blistering pattern seen on fossil and recent shells can be considered species-specific for the infestation of M. donacium by P. bioccipitalis. No evidence was actually found on vectors, introduction pathways or distribution range to support the status of P. bioccipitalis as an introduced species. On the contrary, our findings point to a long-term association, at least for several hundred thousand years, between M. donacium and P. bioccipitalis.

KEY WORDS: Blister worm · Trace fossil polychaetes · Non-indigenous species · Mollusc parasites

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Cite this article as: Riascos JM, Guzmán N, Laudien J, Oliva ME, Heilmayer O, Ortlieb L (2009) Long-term parasitic association between the boring polychaete Polydora bioccipitalis and Mesodesma donacium. Dis Aquat Org 85:209-215.

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