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Scientists find seven new leech species that live inside freshwater mussels

Scientists find seven new leech species that live inside freshwater mussels

Science
Nov. 11 (UPI) -- If you eat freshwater mussels, you might open a shell to find one of seven newly named leech species. Yummy. Between 2002 and 2018, Arthur Bogan, research curator of mollusks at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, recruited collaborators from all over the globe to collect freshwater mussels, sample DNA and document what they found inside. The project revealed seven new species of leeches. According to Ivan N. Bolotov, scientist of the Federal Center for Integrated Arctic Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences and one of Bogan's collaborators, at least two of the species should be classified as obligate inhabitants of the freshwater mussel's mantle cavity. These species cannot complete their life cycle without their bivalve host. "It has been suggested tha...
Infectious cancer affecting mussels spread across the Atlantic

Infectious cancer affecting mussels spread across the Atlantic

Science
Nov. 5 (UPI) -- An infectious cancer has spread from mussels living along the coast of British Columbia to related mussel species in Europe and South America. The reports of the disease's spread, detailed today in the journal eLife, suggest humans are playing a role in the cancer's proliferation across the globe. Scientists knew mussels in disparate parts of the world were being harmed by similar cancers but, until now, researchers weren't sure whether the diseases were transmissible. Most cancers are caused by DNA mutations that trigger uncontrolled cell growth. Most cancer cells don't travel from one individual to the next, but a few species have been affected by infectious cancers. "Tasmanian devils, dogs and bivalves have all developed cancers that can spread to others, acting more ...
Ocean acidification harms young mussels

Ocean acidification harms young mussels

Science
Nov. 22 (UPI) -- New research shows mussels are especially vulnerable to the ill effects of ocean acidification during their early life stages.Mussels form a calcareous shell to protect themselves from predators. Ocean acidification disrupts this process. The latest research offered scientists new insights into the ways a decline in pH disrupts the calcification process during a mussels' larval stages."For the first time, we used two different methods to understand the calcification of one to two-day-old shelled larvae to estimate their sensitivity to climate change," Kirti Ramesh, a doctoral student in ecophysiology at the Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel, said in a news release. "With the help of fluorescent dyes and specialized microscopy techniques, we were able to track the de...