Vibrios as Autochthonous Flora of Neritic Sharks

D. J. Grimes, P. Brayton, R. R. Colwell, S. H. Gruber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The bacterial flora of 28 neritic sharks, comprising five species, was examined. Representatives of the genus Vibrio and related species were isolated, including V. alginolyticus, V. harveyi, V. furnissii, V. damsela, V. carchariae, and Vibrio spp. Vibrios accounted for 59 of 78 pure cultures identified to genus. The remaining 19 isolates comprised Photobacterium and Proteus spp., one strain of Escherichia coli, and three unidentified strains. Vibrios were found in all the organs and tissues that were cultured, indicating that these bacteria are part of the natural flora of sharks. Surprisingly, vibrios were frequently isolated from the kidneys, liver, and spleen of the sharks, strongly suggesting a bacterial-host relationship. Implications of this relationship are that vibrios may act as opportunistic pathogens for sharks and that vibrios may affect shark physiology, for example urea homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-226
Number of pages6
JournalSystematic and Applied Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1985


  • Bacterial flora of sharks
  • Elasmobranchs
  • Fish bacterial flora
  • Opportunistic pathogens
  • Shark-bacteria interactions
  • Sharks
  • Vibrio species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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