Growth, mortality and susceptibility of oyster Crassostrea spp. to Perkinsus spp. infection during on growing in northeast Brazil

Abstract Crassostrea rhizophorae and C. gasar oysters are cultivated in the northeast region. Perkinsus parasites infect bivalves, and their effects on oysters from tropical regions are poorly understood. This study evaluated the impact of Perkinsus infection on the productive traits of native oysters. Oysters were sampled bimonthly during 7 months, from July 2010 to February 2011, to evaluate growth rate, mortality and shell color patterns (white and dark-gray) (n = 500), and to determine the prevalence and intensity of Perkinsus (n = 152). Perkinsus and Crassostrea species were determined using molecular tools. Results showed that most dark-gray (90%, n = 20) and white (67%, n = 18) oysters were C. gasar and C. rhizophorae, respectively. Oysters showed a high growth rate and moderate cumulative mortality (44%). C. gasar oysters grew better and showed lower mortality and lower incidence of Perkinsus compared to C. rhizophorae. The mean prevalence of Perkinsus was moderate (48%), but the infection intensity was light (2.2). Perkinsosis affected very small oysters (19.4 mm). In conclusion, native oysters, especially C. gasar, have a great potential for culture, mortality is not associated with perkinsosis, and the shell color of oysters can be used to improve selection for spats with better performance.