Marine Biology

, Volume 152, Issue 2, pp 329–338 | Cite as

Influence of the parasite worm Polydora sp. on the behaviour of the oyster Crassostrea gigas: a study of the respiratory impact and associated oxidative stress

  • C. Chambon
  • A. LegeayEmail author
  • G. Durrieu
  • P. Gonzalez
  • P. Ciret
  • J. -C. Massabuau
Research Article


The aim of this study was to investigate how the worm Polydora sp., which induces oysters into creating mud blisters in response to an irritation within their shells, could interfere with the oyster Crassostrea gigas physiology and ethology. The impact was characterized by studying two groups of oysters (non-parasitized and parasitized) during a 30 days period: (1) the animal behaviour by analysing their valve activity (valvometry), and (2) the animal respiratory physiology by measuring in vivo the oxygen partial pressure and the specific oxygen consumption in selected tissues (heart, fast and slow adductor muscle). We also researched a putative impact on the expression of several oxidative stress genes at the heart level. Our results show that Polydora sp. is clearly an oyster’s parasite as it induces a decrease in oyster growth according to the infestation intensity. Moreover, it modifies the behaviour and the respiratory physiology of the molluscs. Infested animals opened more frequently but for less time and their level of blood oxygenation was systematically higher than healthy molluscs. These high levels of oxygenation had no effect on the oxidative metabolism of the tissues studied but they induced oxidative stress. Indeed, the superoxide dismutase gene showed a threefold increase in expression in the heart of infested oysters. A putative scenario of the weakening mechanism is proposed.


Ventilation Rate Experimental Tank Pacific Oyster Soft Body Partial Closure 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Chambon
    • 1
  • A. Legeay
    • 1
    Email author
  • G. Durrieu
    • 1
  • P. Gonzalez
    • 1
  • P. Ciret
    • 1
  • J. -C. Massabuau
    • 1
  1. 1.Université Bordeaux 1, CNRSArcachonFrance

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