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May 3, 2012

Spotted Salamander Eggs With Developing Larvae

These spotted salamander eggs with developing larvae are green from the presence of symbiotic algae. The algae provide oxygen that helps the salamander embryos develop and the embryos provide nutrients that facilitate growth of the algae.

Symbioses is a close and often long-term relationship in which two organisms of different species share space that may or may not benefit each one.

In a study by a team of international researchers, a species of algae known to associate with spotted salamanders was discovered living inside the cells of developing embryos--the first known example of a eukaryotic algae living stably inside the cells of a vertebrate.

"It raises the possibility that more animal/algae symbioses exist that we are not aware of," said Roger Hangarter, a biologist at Indiana University (IU) Bloomington and the only American researcher on the team. "Since other salamanders and some frog species have similar algae/egg symbioses, it is possible that some of those will also have the type of endosymbioses we have seen in the spotted salamander."

To learn more about this disocovery, see the IU news story Algae that live inside the cells of salamanders are the first known vertebrate endosymbionts. (Date of Image: March 2007) [See related image Here.]

Credit: Roger Hangarter, Indiana University Department of Biology

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