Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Research Publications: UM-SG-RS-2004-15

Title: 

Perkiasus sp infection risk for manila clams, Venerupis philippinarum (A. Adams and Reeve, 1850) on the Pacific coast of North and Central America.

Year: 

2004

Authors: 

Elston, RA; Dungan, CF; Meyers, TR; Reece, KS

Source: 

Journal of Shellfish Research 23(1):101-105

Abstract: 

Manila clams (Venerupis philippinarum, A. Adams and Reeve 1850) are an important aquaculture species on the west coast of North America and are also cultured in Europe, Asia, and other locations. Clams cultured on the west coast of North America are free of Perkinsus sp. infections, while clams from certain Asian and European sources are infected. Infection in Korean Manila clams is reportedly associated with high morbidity and mortality. We evaluated the health status of readily accessible Manila clam juveniles from Korea that were proposed for importation into Mexican waters where they would increase in size, and then be shipped into the United States, either to market destinations or to receiving waters. The examination of the clams was performed as a preliminary assessment for a producer considering the importation of Korean Manila clams. We report finding a high prevalence of a Perkinsus sp. causing significant tissue damage in juvenile Korean Manila clams. Parasite taxonomic verification was made using a genus-Perkinsus SSUrRNA gene-specific DNA probe for in situ hybridization. The use of this probe is validated and reported for the first time. As a result of this finding, no importation of this clam stock took place. It is urgently important to make widely known the risk of the spread of this disease into the clam stocks of the west coast of North and Central America to prevent such an introduction. In addition, we report new information regarding the prevalence and intensity of this disease in juvenile clams available for export, as well as pathologic features of the disease.

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