The fan mussel, Pinna nobilis (Linnaeus 1758), is an endemic bivalve of the Mediterranean basin, protected by international legislation as an endangered species. In the early summer of 2018, a mass mortality event (MME)of P. nobilis was recorded in the Gulf of Taranto (Southern Italy, Ionian Sea). Moribund specimens of P. nobilis were collected by scuba divers and processed by bacteriological, parasitological, histopathological and molecular analyses to investigate the causes of this MME. Different developmental stages (i.e., plasmodia, spores and sporocysts)of a presumptive haplosporidian parasite were observed during the histological analysis in the epithelium and in the lumen of the digestive tubules, where mature spores occurred either free or in sporocysts. The spores presented an operculum and an ovoid shape measuring 4.4 µm (±0.232)in length and 3.6 µm (±0.233)in width. BLAST analysis of an 18SrRNA sequence revealed a high nucleotide similarity (99%)with the reference sequence of Haplosporidium pinnae available in GenBank database. Phylogenetic analysis clustered the sequence of the pathogen in a paraphyletic clade with the reference sequence of H. pinnae, excluding other haplosporidians (i.e., Bonamia and Minchinia genera). Based on data reported, H. pinnae was the causative agent of MME in the populations of P. nobilis sampled in the Ionian Sea, where the conservation of this endangered species is heavily threatened by such a protozoan infection. Further investigations should contribute to knowledge about the life cycle of H. pinnae in order to reduce spread of the pathogen and to mitigate the burden of the disease where P. nobilis is facing the risk of extinction.
|Titolo:||Haplosporidium pinnae associated with mass mortality in endangered Pinna nobilis (Linnaeus 1758) fan mussels|
OTRANTO, Domenico (Corresponding)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2019|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|