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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI:

    Parasites and their impact on thick-shelled river mussels Unio crassus from two populations in Luxembourg

    E. Lewisch*, F. Arnold, H. -P. Fuehrer, J. Harl, F. Thielen, M. El-Matbouli

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: The thick-shelled river mussel Unio crassus (Philipsson, 1788) is a species native to many European habitats, with declining populations. The impact of parasite communities on this species´ health status is poorly understood. In this study, parasites of 30 U. crassus specimens from the Our and Sauer rivers in Luxembourg were identified morphologically and, in some cases, using molecular genetic methods. The findings were correlated to selected parameters (total length, visceral weight, shell lesions, gonadal stage). The 2 populations did not differ in shell length, visceral weight, number of males and females, gonadal scoring, shell lesions and the occurrence of glochidia. The prevalence and infestation intensities of detected Trichodina sp., Conchophthirus sp., and freshwater mite larvae did not differ between the 2 populations, whereas the prevalence and infestation intensities of mite eggs, nymphs, and adults were significantly higher in the Sauer river. Rhipidocotyle campanula and Rhodeus amarus larvae were only present in the Sauer. Histopathology revealed the destruction of the gonads by R. campanula and tissue damage by the mites. The only significant correlation of the selected parameters was a positive correlation between R. amarus occurrence and total length as well as a negative correlation between the former and gonadal stage. In the Sauer River, 2 mussels were found to be hermaphrodites.