Open Access

Consequences of keepingMytilus in the laboratory as assessed by different cellular condition indices

  • M. P. Cajaraville1,
  • G. Díez1,
  • I. A. Marigómez1 and
  • E. Angulo1
Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen45:BF02367178


Mytilus galloprovincialis Lmk. were maintained in the laboratory for three months in a semicontinuous water flow system. Animals were fed a commercial filter-feeder food and sampled after 0, 21, 35, 49, 77, and 91 days. In order to establish whether laboratory conditions and the food used were deleterious to mussels, their health status was assessed by quantifying different histological parameters of the digestive gland tissue. It was concluded that mussels kept for more than 35 days under the described laboratory conditions showed signs of stress presumably caused by the reproductive state of the mussels investigated. The food used and the nutrition-related health status of the animals were adequate, as shown by transmission electron microscopical studies after the 91-day maintenance period. A stress response was also evoked by a 10-day starvation period, which was reflected by an increased proportion of type I and type IV digestive tubules, and a reduced “Mean Epithelial Thickness” (MET). Finally, the results demonstrate the sensitivity of quantitative histological diagnosis in comparison to subjective tubule grading procedures in the assessment of the degree of stress experienced by mussels.