Classification of jinjiang oysters Crassostrea rivularis (Gould, 1861) from China, based on morphology and phylogenetic analysis

Haiyan Wang, Ximing Guo, Guofan Zhang, Fusui Zhang

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The jinjiang oyster Crassostrea rivularis [Gould, 1861. Descriptions of shells collected in the North Pacific Exploring Expedition under Captains Ringgold and Rodgers. Proc. Boston Soc. Nat. Hist. 8 (April), 33-40] is one of the most important and best-known oysters in China. Based on the color of its flesh, two forms of C. rivularis are recognized and referred to as the "white meat" and "red meat" oysters. The classification of white and red forms of this species has been a subject of confusion and debate in China. To clarify the taxonomic status of the two forms of C. rivularis, we collected and analyzed oysters from five locations along China's coast using both morphological characters and DNA sequences from mitochondrial 16S rRNA and cytochrome oxidase I, and the nuclear 28S rRNA genes. Oysters were classified as white or red forms according to their morphological characteristics and then subjected to DNA sequencing. Both morphological and DNA sequence data suggest that the red and white oysters are two separate species. Phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequences obtained in this study and existing sequences of reference species show that the red oyster is the same species as C. ariakensis Wakiya [1929. Japanese food oysters. Jpn. J. Zool. 2, 359-367.], albeit the red oysters from north and south China are genetically distinctive. The white oyster is the same species as a newly described species from Hong Kong, C. hongkongensis Lam and Morton [2003. Mitochondrial DNA and identification of a new species of Crassostrea (Bivalvia: Ostreidae) cultured for centuries in the Pearl River Delta, Hong Kong, China. Aqua. 228, 1-13]. Although the name C. rivularis has seniority over C. ariakensis and C. hongkongensis, the original description of Ostrea rivularis by Gould [1861] does not fit shell characteristics of either the red or the white oysters. We propose that the name of C. rivularis Gould [1861] should be suspended, the red oyster should take the name C. ariakensis, and the white oyster should take the name C. hongkongensis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-155
Number of pages19
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 20 2004


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aquatic Science


  • 16S rRNA
  • 28S rRNA
  • C. ariakensis
  • C. hongkongensis
  • Crassostrea rivularis
  • Cytochrome oxidase I
  • Taxonomy

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