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Infestation of oysters and mussels by mytilicolid copepods: differences between natural coastal habitats and two offshore cultivation sites in the German Bight

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Pogoda, B. , Jungblut, S. , Buck, B. H. and Hagen, W. (2012): Infestation of oysters and mussels by mytilicolid copepods: differences between natural coastal habitats and two offshore cultivation sites in the German Bight , Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 28 (5), pp. 756-765 . doi: 10.1111/jai.12025
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Abstract:

The aim of this study was to determine the macro-parasitic infestation level of oysters from the southern German Bight focussing on copepods of the genus Mytilicola. Crassostrea gigas, Ostrea edulis and Mytilus edulis were collected at five locations: three nearshore sites in the eastern Wadden Sea and two offshore cultivation sites in the German Bight. To reveal seasonal variations one sampling site was investigated in winter and summer. At the nearshore sites, Mytilicola orientalis was regularly detected in C. gigas. Prevalences ranged between 32.3% and 45.1%, intensity between 3.0 ± 0.6 and 8.2 ± 1.5. Infestation rates of C. gigas within the southern German Bight decreased from west to east: Apparently, M. orientalis has started its range extension along the German coast with gradual retardation eastwards but generally followed the invasion route of its main host, the Pacific oyster. Interestingly, we detected not only M. intestinalis but also M. orientalis as an intestinal parasite in M. edulis, which has sofar not previously been described as host within this region. We conclude that M. orientalis is flexible in its host choice. Furthermore, in the eastern Wadden Sea infestation rates of oysters and mussels by copepods are similar. These results deviate from the patterns observed for the northern Wadden Sea in terms of infestation level and host specificity. No macro-parasites were found in oysters and mussels from the offshore sites. This absence can be considered as potentially beneficial for aquaculture activities in the open ocean in terms of stamina and physiological performance.

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