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Chlamydomonad alga
Scientific classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Chlorophyta
Class: Chlorophyceae
Order: Chlorococcales
Family: Chlorococcaceae
Genus: Oophila
Species: O. amblystomatis
Binomial name
Oophila amblystomatis
Printz, 1927[1]
Ambystoma maculatum clear egg mass with green color from Oophila algae
Ambystoma maculatum clear egg mass with green color from Oophila algae

Oophila amblystomatis, commonly known as chlamydomonad algae or salamander algae, is a species of single-celled green algae. The Latin specific name means "loves salamander eggs". It does not occur anywhere in nature other than in the eggs of the spotted salamander, Ambystoma maculatum. The alga can invade and grow in the amphibian's egg capsule. Once inside, it metabolizes the carbon dioxide produced by the embryo and provides it with oxygen as a result of photosynthesis. This is an example of symbiosis,[2] and the only known example an intracellular endosymbiont microbe in vertebrates.[3][4]

This symbiosis between Oophila and the salamander may exist beyond the oocyte and early embryonic stage. Chlorophyll autofluorescence observation and ribosomal DNA analysis suggest that this algal species has invaded embryonic salamander tissues and cells during development and may even be transmitted to the next generation.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Oophila amblystomatis". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 4 August 2008. 
  2. ^ Nature Trivia, Spotted Salamander at Henderson State University. Accessed 4 August 2008.
  3. ^ Frazer, J. (2018-05-18). "Algae Living inside Salamanders Aren't Happy about the Situation". Scientific American. Retrieved 2018-05-21. 
  4. ^ Burns, J. A.; Zhang, H.; Hill, E.; Kim, E.; Kerney, R. (2017). "Transcriptome analysis illuminates the nature of the intracellular interaction in a vertebrate-algal symbiosis". eLife. 6. doi:10.7554/eLife.22054. 
  5. ^ Kerney, Ryan; et al. (2011). "Intracellular invasion of green algae in a salamander host". PNAS. 108: 6497–6502. doi:10.1073/pnas.1018259108. PMC 3080989Freely accessible. PMID 21464324. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Gilbert, P. W. (1942). "Observations on the eggs of Ambystoma maculatum with especial reference to the green algae found within the egg envelopes". Ecology. 23 (2): 215–227. doi:10.2307/1931088. 
  • Kim, E.; Lin, Y.; Kerney, R.; Blumenberg, L.; Bishop, C. (2014). "Phylogenetic analysis of algal symbionts associated with four North American amphibian egg masses". PLoS ONE. 9 (11): e108915. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0108915. 
  • Valls, J. H.; Mills, N. E. (2007). "Intermittent hypoxia in eggs of Ambystoma maculatum: embryonic development and egg capsule conductance". J. Exp. Biol. 210 (14): 2430–2435. doi:10.1242/jeb.003541. 

External links[edit]