Brown Muscle Disease (BMD) affects Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum. It was described for the first time in 2005 in Arcachon Bay, France. The pathology consists in a progressive necrosis of the posterior adductor muscle, valve gaping, clam migration to the sediment surface, and death. This study aims to quantify the prevalence of BMD in the bay and to evaluate the effect of BMD on Manila clam dynamics. The prevalence was assessed on 50 stations spread within Arcachon Bay. About 62% of Manila clam habitat surface was infected by BMD. A survey of buried and surface clams was conducted from November 2006 to March 2008 in Lanton, a site infected by BMD. Modal progression analysis separated confidently cohorts from 2003 to 2005 recruitments. This pathology only affected adult clams (>25 mm, >2 years). For both buried and surface individuals, shell length was significantly correlated with BMD infection. Surface clams had prevalence (67%) higher than buried clams (23%) and showed greater mortality rate after 15 d in running water: 82% against 12% for buried individuals. The final disease index (FDI) and the condition index (CI) were monthly evaluated on 50 clams located at each position in the sediment. CI displayed a significant decrease after BMD's infection from light to severe disease stages. Length data analysis through Bhattacharya's method (FISAT II software) allowed identifying four cohorts. The 2003s cohort enabled to calculate mortality rate that was 39% for 5 months and to estimate that BMD was responsible of 95% of that mortality. The temperature was certainly an important factor in BMD transmission, because cohort dynamics results argued that BMD developed during spring and summer.
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Vol. 28 • No. 2