Journal of Invertebrate Pathology | VOL. 196

Pearl formation associated with gymnophallid metacercariae in Mytilus galloprovincialis from the Northwestern Adriatic coast: Preliminary observations

Publication Date Feb 1, 2023


Gymnophallids of the genus Parvatrema are small trematodes infecting waterbirds in their adult stage. Several species of clams and mussels have been found to act as first and second intermediate hosts, in which the trematode larval stages induce the formation of pearls. In this study, a wild population of Mytilus galloprovincialis was sampled along the Northwestern coast of the Adriatic Sea to evaluate the origin and extent of visible pearls. Parasitological investigations, including morphological and molecular analyses, and histopathology were carried out on a representative sample of mussels (n=158) from June to September 2021. The overall prevalence of infection reached 75.3%, and the intensity of infection ranged from a few trematodes to thousands per mussel, mostly occurring in the mantle and surrounded by variable numbers of conchiolin layers. Morphological studies allowed classification of the metacercariae as belonging to the genus Parvatrema, and the pairwise comparison of the obtained sequences, encompassing the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region, revealed a genetic similarity (96.8%) to Parvatrema duboisi. However, the phylogenetic analysis demonstrated the independent clustering of the obtained ITS sequences compared to other available Parvatrema species. For the relevant commercial impact that pearl formation may have on farmed mussels, ecological and epidemiological aspects of this infection would deserve further investigation in the area.


Internal Transcribed Spacer Species Of Clams Internal Transcribed Spacer Sequences Pearl Formation Parasitological Investigations Mytilus Galloprovincialis Intermediate Hosts Preliminary Observations Adult Stage Species Of Mussels

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