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Hastigerina pelagica: Foraminiferal habitat for planktonic dinoflagellates


Hand-collection of specimens by SCUBA diving in the Florida Current revealed that the planktonic foraminiferan Hastigerina pelagica harbors on its surfaces 3 species of planktonic dinoflagellates: Pyrocystis fusiformis, P. noctiluca and, predominanty, Dissodinium elegans. Undamaged H. pelagica is unique in possessing a gelatinous, bubble-like capsule completely surrounding the test. While attached to the surface of this capsule, the dinoflagellates frequently reproduced asexually, and appeared healthy in all respects. They were not assimilated by the foraminifera. The number of D. elegans per foraminiferan increased with increased surface area of the gelatinous capsule, averaging approximately 6 dinoflagellates/foraminiferan, with a maximum of 79. Surface-space utilization per D. elegans remained constant with increased foraminiferan size. The use of the foraminifera in a facultative commensal or symbiotic association and the value of surfaces in that association is postulated.

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Communicated by J. Bunt, Miami

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Alldredge, A.L., Jones, B.M. Hastigerina pelagica: Foraminiferal habitat for planktonic dinoflagellates. Mar. Biol. 22, 131–135 (1973).

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  • Foraminifera
  • Dinoflagellate
  • Increase Surface Area
  • Scuba Diving
  • Symbiotic Association