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6 April 2023 Observations on a Reemerging Epizootic of the Sea Scallop, Placopecten magellanicus, Resource
David B. Rudders, Sally A. Roman, Robert Fisher, Jan McDowell
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The Anaskid nematode, Sulcascaris sulcata has a worldwide distribution and utilizes benthic molluscs as an intermediate host with sea turtles (Chelonioidea) serving as definitive hosts. During the spring of 2015, sea scallops (Placopecten magellanicus) harvested along the mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) presented with rust-colored lesions on the surface of the adductor muscles. Morphological and molecular investigations determined that the lesions were caused by an infection by third- and fourth-stage larval S. sulcata. Seasonal monitoring from 2015 to 2018 delineated a stable spatial distribution of infected scallops that corresponded to a large 2013 year-class of scallops and persistent utilization of this habitat by seasonally resident loggerhead turtles. Given the life cycle and etiology of S. sulcata, the risk to human health via direct infection or allergic reaction appears to be low, however, the spatiotemporal scale of nematode-infected scallops resulted in fishery-level impacts with respect to the spatial distribution of fishing effort in response to product quality and depreciation of the value of landed scallops. The long-term trajectory of the epizootic remains unclear and continued monitoring of the spatiotemporal distribution of nematode-infected scallops is warranted as S. sulcata spatial distribution is likely dependent upon sea scallop abundance, which is currently trending toward more northerly portions of the MAB.

David B. Rudders, Sally A. Roman, Robert Fisher, and Jan McDowell "Observations on a Reemerging Epizootic of the Sea Scallop, Placopecten magellanicus, Resource," Journal of Shellfish Research 42(1), 51-60, (6 April 2023).
Published: 6 April 2023
marine molluscs
Placopecten magellanicus
sea scallop fishery
spatiotemporal distribution
Sulcascaris sulcata
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