flat oysters

The ecology of Bonamia and decline of bivalve molluscs

Bonamia is a protozoan parasite of the haemocytes of oysters (Tiostrea chilensis), in which it has an annual developmental cycle between November and August each year. The parasite transmits directly, oyster to oyster, and therefore disease spread is related to host stock density. The Foveaux Strait oyster population experiences large mortalities every 20-30 years, and these may be attributable to Bonamia. The parasite appears to become less pathogenic at the end of, and probably between, mass mortalities, and some oysters appear more tolerant of infection than others.