Specificity in the Convoluta Roscoffensis/Tetraselmis Symbiosis

  • A. E. Douglas
Conference paper
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 17)


Convoluta roscoffensis is an intertidal acoel turbellarian (fflatworm1) that is locally abundant on sandy beaches of the Brittany coast of France and nearby Channel Islands. It is a conspicuous member of the beach fauna, for two reasons: first, the animals are green, due to the presence of algal symbionts of the genus Tetraselmis (=Platymonas, Prasinocladus) in their tissues (Parke & Manton, 19 67); and, secondly, they are gregarious, forming large dark-green patches on the surface of the beach at low tide (Holligan & Gooday, 1975). The details of the life cycle of C. roscoffensis was established by Keeble & Gamble (1907). The adult animals reproduce exclusively sexually and the fertilized eggs are deposited, within a common gelatinous capsule, in the sand. The algal symbionts are not transmitted directly into the eggs and the association is reestablished at each generation of C. roscoffensis when recently-hatched juveniles feed on free-living algae in the interstitial water. The symbiosis appears to be obligate for C. roscoffensis; all adult animals are green in the field and, in the laboratory, aposymbiotic juveniles die within a few weeks of hatching.


Algal Cell Mucous Gland Channel Island Algal Symbiont Green Hydra 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. E. Douglas
    • 1
  1. 1.John Innes InstituteNorwichUK

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