Mortality event involving larvae of the carpet shell clam Ruditapes decussatus in a hatchery: isolation of the pathogen Vibrio tubiashii subsp. europaeus

Diseases caused by bacteria belonging to the genus Vibrio are a common, as yet unresolved, cause of mortality in shellfish hatcheries. In this study, we report the results of routine microbiological monitoring of larval cultures of the carpet shell clam Ruditapes decussatus in a hatchery in Galicia (NW Spain). Previous episodes of mortality with signs similar to those of vibriosis affecting other species in the installation indicated the possibility of bacterial infection and led to division of the culture at the early D-veliger larval stage. One batch was cultured under routine conditions, and the other was experimentally treated with antibiotic (chloramphenicol). Differences in larval survival were assessed, and culturable bacterial population in clams and sea water was evaluated, with particular attention given to vibrios. Severe mortalities were recorded from the first stages of culture onwards. The pathogen Vibrio tubiashii subsp. europaeus was detected in both batches, mainly associated with larvae. Moreover, initial detection of the pathogen in the eggs suggested the vertical transmission from broodstock as a possible source. Experimental use of antibiotic reduced the presence and diversity of vibrios in sea water, but proved inefficient in controlling vibrios associated with larvae from early stages and it did not stop mortalities.

Dubert, J., Aranda-Burgos, J. A., Ojea, J., Barja, J. L. and Prado, S., Journal of Fish Diseases, Volume 40, Issue 9, September 2017, Pages 1185–1193

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