Marine Biology

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 89–95 | Cite as

The occurrence and effects of Mytilicola intestinalis in Mytilus edulis

  • S. A. Campbell


Mytilicola intestinalis was observed in the mussel Mytilus edulis in increasing numbers for the first time at Brighton (England), in October 1966; the populations here and at Whitstable were examined. Mussels exposed high in the littoral zone were less heavily infected than those lower down, the degree of infection being directly related to the duration of exposure in each tidal cycle. Silt in the intestine of the mussel is considered to act as a controlling factor in numbers of parasites present at Whitstable. Egg-bearing copepods were present in samples throughout the year, suggesting that breeding is not interrupted by the winter. Evidence indicates that juvenile stages of the parasite cause most damage to the host, due in part to their presence in the ramifications of the hepatopancreas. Recovery of the mussel from the effects of parasitation is rapid, following a reduction in parasite population density and number of juveniles. In the laboratory, M. edulis is more rapidly affected by lack of food at 10 °C than M. intestinalis. No dead parasites were seen during 4 months of laboratory storage. Juvenile parasites continned to mature, indicating that this period of time may be required for Mytilicola intestinalis to reach maturity at 10°C.


Population Density Silt Controlling Factor Tidal Cycle Littoral Zone 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. A. Campbell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoology, Westfield CollegeUniversity of LondonEngland

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