Diseases of bivalve molluscs caused by paramyxid parasites of the genus Marteilia have been linked to mass mortalities and the collapse of commercially important shellfish populations. Until recently, no Marteilia spp. have been detected in common cockle (Cerastoderma edule) populations in the British Isles. Molecular screening of cockles from ten sites on the Welsh coast indicates that a Marteilia parasite is widespread in Welsh C. edule populations, including major fisheries. Phylogenetic analysis of ribosomal DNA (rDNA) gene sequences from this parasite indicates that it is a closely related but different species to Marteilia cochillia, a parasite linked to mass mortality of C. edule fisheries in Spain, and that both are related to Marteilia octospora, for which we provide new rDNA sequence data. Preliminary light and transmission electron microscope (TEM) observations support this conclusion, indicating that the parasite from Wales is located primarily within areas of inflammation in the gills and the connective tissue of the digestive gland, whereas M. cochillia is found mainly within the epithelium of the digestive gland. The impact of infection by the new species, here described as Marteilia cocosarum n. sp., upon Welsh fisheries is currently unknown.