The truth about the abalone sabellid eradication

Geoff Read gread at
Thu Aug 19 05:26:54 EST 1999

Truth or not, here it is  - copyright Lycos ENS - & it looks rather like 
someone's press release.


 "Scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara have eradicated an 
invading worm from South Africa that settles in the shells of abalone and 
snails, stunting their growth and causing deformities. Armand Kuris, professor 
of zoology at UC Santa Barbara, says this is the first time that scientists have 
succeeded in eradicating an established pest population. The microscopic 
worms were imported in the 1980s in a shipment of South African abalone. 
The worms quickly spread among abalone farms in California, and then 
escaped into the wild. By 1997, over 2.5 million abalone and snails along the 
California shore had become infested with the worms. Researchers including 
Kuris determined which marine species are most susceptible to invasion by 
the worm. The threshold theory of transmission says that a certain density of 
hosts is needed for a parasite population to survive. Kuris and his team broke 
this threshold by removing large numbers of the most susceptible hosts - black 
turban snails. The team removed about 1.5 million ten-year-old snails from 
their intertidal home, and dumped them on dry land. "An awful lot of snails 
died for our sins," said Kuris. While the scientists believe the problem has 
been solved, they will continue to survey for worm infestations every six 
months. "

   Geoff Read <gread at>

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