Read, Geoffrey B. 2010. Comparison and history of Polydora websteri and P. haswelli (Polychaeta: Spionidae) as mud-blister worms in New Zealand shellfish. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 44(2): 83–100.
Shells of commercially-valued bivalves in New Zealand, Crassostrea gigas, Perna canaliculus, and Pecten novaezelandiae, are damaged by blister-causing Polydora polychaete species known to be close in morphology to the widely recorded oyster pest Polydora websteri Hartman. Recent New Zealand occurrences are here confirmed to relate to two species, P. websteri, and a second similar species, P. haswelli Blake & Kudenov, a new record for New Zealand, previously known only from Australia; the two species are described and compared. The worms have limited distributions, with Polydora websteri confirmed only for Pacific oysters (C. gigas) in northern New Zealand, although prior reports indicate it may also occur on scallops and have reached the northern South Island. Polydora haswelli has been found only in northern New Zealand, occurring on subtidal mussels and scallops and native oysters (Perna canaliculus, Pecten novaezelandiae, Ostrea chilensis), as well as co-existing with intertidal P. websteri on Pacific oysters. The worms are not present in Foveaux Strait O. chilensis beds, a major source of past oyster exports to Australia. The history of mud-blister worm outbreaks in Australasia is examined. While trans-Tasman exports of live oysters from New Zealand were commonplace during the nineteenth century there is no evidence mud-blister worms were present in New Zealand then. The earliest reports only date from the early 1970s and only from northern New Zealand, whereas a century earlier in the 1870s at least one of these pest worms had become widespread along eastern Australian coasts.
Invasions, introduction of alien species