The health status of mussels, Mytilus spp., in Ireland and Wales with the molecular identification of a previously undescribed haplosporidian

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Both wild and cultured mussels (Mytilus edulis, Mytilus galloprovincialis and hybrids), are found along most of the Irish coastline. M. edulis is widespread along all Irish coasts and is the only mussel species present on both the east coast of Ireland and the Welsh coast in the Irish Sea. M. galloprovincialis and hybrids are found along the Irish coastline except for the east coast. Samples of Mytilus spp. were collected from twenty-four sites, encompassing all coasts of Ireland and the Welsh coast, at different times of the year and over several years (2008–2011). In total, 841 mussels were examined histologically to assess their health status and the presence of any parasites or commensals. Mussels from 14 of the 24 sites were screened using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to determine which mytilid species were present. A range of parasites were observed, generally at low levels. The most diverse community of parasites was observed at a sheltered site with poor water quality. Of significance, a previously undescribed haplosporidian was detected in a single mussel sample in the Menai Strait, Wales, by PCR and was confirmed by direct sequencing and is most closely related to Minchina chitonis and a haplosporidian of the Florida marsh clam Cyrenoida floridana. While M. edulis were infected by a variety of micro- and macro-parasites, only trematodes were observed in M. galloprovincialis and hybrids. Habitat description and the environmental factors influencing the study sites, including water quality and exposure, were recorded.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-65
JournalJournal of Invertebrate Pathology
Volume118
DOIs
StatePublished - 6 Mar 2014
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