Symbiosis between Algae and Salamanders

slatera

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A friend just brought to my attention the fact that certain algae and the Spotted Salamander (N. America) have a symbiotic relationship that starts in the embyro stage! I think this is pretty incredible, but all you established N. American species keepers probably know this already.

See link below for further info:

Salamander Has Algae Living Inside Its Cells | Wired Science | Wired.com

I would think that this information presents a strong argument for raising young in a non-sterile, naturalistic environment with pond/rain water so that the proper alga/amphibian relationship can be initiated from earliest days of development. I would be interested to hear from experienced keepers if any other amphibian species are known to have such symbiotic relationships.

I keep Salamandra s. terrestris and Pleurodeles waltl. The young Pleurodeles I am raisng at the moment (first time for me) definately have a greenish tinge. I also noticed the daphnia (wild caught) I am feeding them are also bright green from ingesting algae, so this may be pased on to the newts.
 

Infinitii

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I haven't heard of this before, very interesting. Wonder if this is exclusive to Spotted Salamanders or if these kinds of studies haven't been done on other amphibians yet.
 

slatera

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Well, I suspect it does occur in other species. I was hoping someone with a more scientific background would respond with positive information, but nothing yet.

Even my suggestion that a non-sterile environment for raising larvae is desirable, has not tempted anyone to respond! I threw this one to see what responses there may be, as many posts seem to be rather overly concerned with removing as much natural from the tank as possible and filtering everything to oblivion. My preference is for as natural a set up as possible....
 

Jennewt

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Well, I suspect it does occur in other species. I was hoping someone with a more scientific background would respond with positive information, but nothing yet.

Even my suggestion that a non-sterile environment for raising larvae is desirable, has not tempted anyone to respond! I threw this one to see what responses there may be, as many posts seem to be rather overly concerned with removing as much natural from the tank as possible and filtering everything to oblivion. My preference is for as natural a set up as possible....
I haven't heard of any other cases of documented symbiosis, but I'm not an expert on this.

For raising larvae, I agree that natural setups work well, generally more consistently than "simple" setups. In my experience, if you keep them in a simple setup, you have to keep it fanatically clean. Either extreme works (super clean or "natural"), but trying for something in between is more likely to result in problems.

I suppose that other kinds of symbiosis are a possible reason for the success of natural setups, but there are other things that could explain why certain kinds of "dirty" are better than "clean". In a well balanced system, beneficial bacteria and micro-organisms generally outnumber and outcompete the bad ones. And some of the larger micro-organisms may provide a supplementary food source. Those are my theories, anyway.
 

slatera

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Thanks for your response. What you say makes sense to me. As long a the baddies don't have a chance to accumulate, one siphons off the accumulating rubbish and top up with rain water or clean spring water all seems to go well. Plenty of native aquatic plant life and sunlight too!
 
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