Lysozyme activity and protein concentration in the haemolymph of the flat oyster Ostrea edulis were investigated. These biochemical constituents of the haemolymph could be an indication of the physiological condition and vitality of the defence system of an animal. Haemolymph protein and lysozyme in oysters were examined over an 18 month period to determine their relationship with the strain of oyster, the season, the site, and parasitism by Bonamia ostreae. Haemolymph protein concentration exhibited seasonal fluctuations and varied between strains. Levels of protein in oysters highly infected with B. ostreae were slightly depressed but not significantly so. Haemolymph lysozyme varied greatly between individuals but no correlation was found between lysozyme levels and infection of oysters by B. ostreae. © 2001 Academic Press.