Lesions of Copper Toxicosis in Captive Marine Invertebrates With Comparisons to Normal Histology

E. E B LaDouceur, J. Wynne, M. M. Garner, Carol A Nyaoke, Michael K Keel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Despite increasing concern for coral reef ecosystem health within the last decade, there is scant literature concerning the histopathology of diseases affecting the major constituents of coral reef ecosystems, particularly marine invertebrates. This study describes histologic findings in 6 species of marine invertebrates (California sea hare [Aplysia californica], purple sea urchin [Strongylocentrotus purpuratus], sunburst anemone [Anthopleura sola], knobby star [Pisaster giganteus], bat star [Asterina miniata], and brittle star [Ophiopteris papillosa]) with spontaneous copper toxicosis, 4 purple sea urchins with experimentally induced copper toxicosis, and 1 unexposed control of each species listed. The primary lesions in the California sea hare with copper toxicosis were branchial and nephridial necrosis. Affected echinoderms shared several histologic lesions, including epidermal necrosis and ulceration and increased numbers of coelomocytes within the water-vascular system. The sunburst anemone with copper toxicosis had necrosis of both epidermis and gastrodermis, as well as expulsion of zooxanthellae from the gastrodermis. In addition to the lesions attributed to copper toxicosis, our results describe normal microscopic features of these animals that may be useful for histopathologic assessment of marine invertebrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)648-658
Number of pages11
JournalVeterinary Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2015


  • copper toxicosis
  • histology
  • histopathology
  • marine invertebrates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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