Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Journal of Invertebrate Pathology
During the summer and fall of 1995, in clam aquaculture leases at two locations on the coast of Massachusetts, significant mortalities were observed to occur primarily in 112" role="presentation" style="font-size: 0.9px; display: inline-block; position: relative;">- to 2-year old hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria,quahog) planted in the leases. Examination of hard clams from those leases suggested a parasite similar to QPX (Quahog Parasite Unknown), as described by Whyte, S. K., Cawthorn, R. J., and McGladdery, S. E. (1994,Can. Dis. Ag. Org.19, 129–136), was responsible for the poor condition of affected clams and the resulting high mortality. In clam tissues, the QPX-like parasite formed thalli surrounded by a mucofilamentous net. Larger thalli underwent endosporulation producing sporangia that contained approximately 40 endospores. Rupture of the sporangium released the endospores into the surrounding tissue. Inflammatory response by the clam to infection was chronic, active, and granulomatous. The occurrence both of phagocytic multinucleated giant inflammatory cells and inflammatory encapsulation of parasites were commonly identified as part of the response. Moderately to severely infected clams showed significantly reduced growth and a poorer condition index as compared to uninfected or mildly infected clams.
Mercenaria, hard clam disease, QPX, pathology
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Smolowitz,, Roxanna; Leavit, Dale; and Perkins, Frank, Observations of a Protistan Disease Similar to QPX in Mercenaria mercenaria (Hard Clams) from the Coast of Massachusetts (1998). Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, 71, 9-25.