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Scientific classification
Domain: Eukaryota
(unranked): SAR
(unranked): Rhizaria
Phylum: Cercozoa
Class: Ascetosporea
Order: Paramyxida
Family: Marteiliidae
Genus: Marteilia
Grizel, Comps, Bonami, Cousserans, Duthoit & Le Pennec, 1974 [1][2]
  • M. christenseni Comps 1985
  • M. chungmuensis (Comps, Park & Desportes 1986) Feist et al. 2009
  • M. cochillia Carrasco et al. 2013
  • M. granula Itoh et al. 2014
  • M. lengehi Comps 1976
  • M. maurini Comps, Pichot & Papagianni 1992
  • M. octospora Ruiz et al. 2016
  • M. refringens Grizel et al. 1974
  • M. sydneyi Perkins & Wolf 1976

Marteilia is a genus of cercozoa that are parasites of bivalves. Species include Marteilia sydneyi, Marteilia refringens,[3] and Marteilia cochillia.

Marteilia refringens is a unicellular parasite affecting the digestive system of the flat oyster, Ostrea edulis. Other species that can be infected include the Australian mud oyster (O. angasi), the Argentinean oyster (O. puelchana), the Chilean flat oyster (O. chilensis), the blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) and the Mediterranean mussel (M. galloprovincialis). Early stages of the life cycle occur in the epithelia of the digestive ducts and possibly the gills of the host. Later the parasite migrates to the epithelial cells of the digestive tubules. There may be no symptoms of infection. The factors triggering a pathogenic response are unclear but may be related to environmental stress. The gross signs of marteiliosis include the visceral tissues losing their pigmentation and becoming pale yellow. In some cases the mantle become translucent and shell growth may cease. Affected shellfish can become emaciated and in heavy infections tissues appear shrunken and slimy. Mortality seems to be related to the sporulation of the parasite.[4] The parasite was first observed in France in 1979 and has since spread to other countries in Europe.[5]

Marteilia sydneyi is a parasite of the Sydney rock oyster (Saccostrea glomerata) and causes QX disease. The parasite may be present without any signs being apparent. The gross signs of infection include colourless and translucent tissues because of resorption of the gonad and a pale yellow-brown digestive gland. The body may appear shrunken and in poor condition. Infections are found in the Asia Pacific regions and have been reported from Australia.[6]

Marteilia cochillia is a parasite of the common cockle, having caused a collapse in shellfish beds in Galicia in 2012. [7]


  1. ^ Grizel H; Comps M; Bonami J; Cousserans F.; Duthoit J; Le Pennec M (1974). "Recherche sur l'agent de la maladie de la glande digestive de Ostrea edulis Linné". Science et Pêche. 240: 7–30.  In French
  2. ^ Victor Sprague (1979). "Classification of the Haplosporidia" (PDF). Marine Fisheries Review. 41: 40–44. 
  3. ^ Carrasco N, López-Flores I, Alcaraz M, Furones MD, Berthe FC, Arzul I (October 2007). "Dynamics of the parasite Marteilia refringens (Paramyxea) in Mytilus galloprovincialis and zooplankton populations in Alfacs Bay (Catalonia, Spain)". Parasitology. 134 (Pt 11): 1541–50. doi:10.1017/S0031182007003009. PMID 17623489. 
  4. ^ "Marteiliosis". The Scottish Fish Health Inspectorate. 
  5. ^ "Shellfish diseases- Marteilia refringens". International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). Archived from the original on 2010-12-06. 
  6. ^ "Infection with marteilia sydneyi". Aquatic Animal Diseases Significant to Asia–Pacific Identification Field Guide. Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry. 
  7. ^ Villalba, Antonio; Iglesias, David; Ramilo, Andrea; Darriba, Susana; Parada, Jose M.; No Couto, Edgar; Abollo, Elvira; Molares, Jose; Carballal, MJ (2014). "Cockle Cerastoderma edule fishery collapse in the Ría de Arousa (Galicia, NW Spain) associated with the protistan parasite Marteilia cochillia". Diseases of Aquatic Organisms. 109 (1): 55–80. doi:10.3354/dao02723.