Identification of the shell-boring parasite Polydora hoplura (Annelida: Spionidae) on wild stocks of Pecten maximus in Galician waters, NW Spain

J Invertebr Pathol. 2022 May;190:107750. doi: 10.1016/j.jip.2022.107750. Epub 2022 Mar 12.


Infestations by shell-boring polychaetes have been gaining attention in recent years due to the harmful effects that their presence can pose to the growth and production of marine bivalves worldwide. The Galician region, located in the north-western corner of the Iberian Peninsula, is one of the major producers of marine bivalves in the word and therefore highly dependent on this industry. The recent finding of an unknown polychaete boring into the shells of the king scallop, Pecten maximus, has raised the attention of producers and authorities due to its potential harm to exploitable populations and the economical losses that could entail. The results from the morphological examination revealed the spionid Polydora hoplura as the only species present. DNA of a specimen was extracted and the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene was partially sequenced for comparison with published sequences and confirmation of the morphological identification. Consequently, we report for the first time in the area the infestation of wild harvested populations of P. maximus by the mud worm Polydora hoplura. The presence of this shell-boring cosmopolitan invader could pose a threat to king scallop exploitation in Galicia; potential economic impacts need to be evaluated.

Keywords: DNA; King Scallop; Mud worm; Polychaeta; Shellfish.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Annelida*
  • Bivalvia*
  • Parasites*
  • Pecten*
  • Pectinidae*
  • Polychaeta*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Spain


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S