Algae encapsulated in cells of spotted salamander may provide photosynthetic products (oxygen and carbohydrate) by internal symbiosis.

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"[T]he single-celled alga Oophila amblystomatis...has long been understood to enjoy a symbiotic relationship with the spotted salamander, which lays its eggs in bodies of water. However, the symbiosis was thought to occur between the salamander embryo and algae living outside it — with the embryo producing nitrogen-rich waste that is useful to algae, and the algae increasing the oxygen content of the water in the immediate vicinity of the respiring embryos.

"At a presentation on 28 July at the Ninth International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology in Punta del Este, Uruguay, Ryan Kerney of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, reported that these algae are, in fact, commonly located inside cells all over the spotted salamander's body. Moreover, there are signs that intracellular algae may be directly providing the products of photosynthesis — oxygen and carbohydrate — to the salamander cells that encapsulate them ... Because vertebrate cells have what is known as an adaptive immune system — which destroys biological material not considered 'self' — it was thought to be impossible for a symbiont to live stably inside them. But, in this case, the salamander cells have either turned their internal immune system off, or the algae have somehow bypassed it." (Petherick 2010:1)

Web page
A solar salamander: photosynthetic algae have been found inside the cells of a vertebrate for the first time

Journal article
Intracellular invasion of green algae in a salamander host

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Organism
Spotted SalamanderAmbystoma maculatumSpecies


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