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Adult Spotted Salamander
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Adult Spotted Salamander

June 26, 2012
An adult spotted salamander making its way to a vernal pool to breed. 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." 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. 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 2010) Credit: Roger Hangarter, Indiana University Department of Biology