An estuarine neritid gastropod, Clithon corona, a potential reservoir of thermostable direct hemolysin-producing Vibrio parahaemolyticus.
An estuarine neritid gastropod, Clithon corona, maintained in UV-irradiated recirculating artificial seawater with a salinity of 15 per mil (%o) was found to retain thermostable direct hemolysin (TDH)-producing Vibrio parahaemolyticus in the gut at significantly higher levels than TDH-non-producing one for at least 14 days. Another estuarine neritid gastropod, C. sowerbianus, was not able to support the preferential survival of TDH-producing organisms. This evidence suggests that, if TDH-producing vibrios are brought to estuaries inhabited by C. corona, repeated ingestion of V. parahaemolyticus by this gastropod could lead to accumulation of TDH-producing vibrios in the estuaries. (+info)
A new experimental study has provided the first definitive evidence for conditional punishment of 'cheats' in a sperm-trading simultaneous hermaphrodite: the sea slug Chelidonura hirundinina. This also provides a rare unequivocal example of conditional reciprocity averting a 'tragedy of the commons' in biology. (+info)
Slugs: potential novel vectors of Escherichia coli O157.
Field and laboratory studies were performed to determine whether slugs could act as novel vectors for pathogen (e.g., Escherichia coli O157) transfer from animal feces to salad vegetables. Escherichia coli O157 was isolated from 0.21% of field slugs from an Aberdeenshire sheep farm. These isolates carried the verocytotoxin genes (vt1 and vt2) and the attaching and effacing gene (eae), suggesting that they are potentially pathogenic to humans. Strain typing using multilocus variable number tandem repeats analysis showed that slug and sheep isolates were indistinguishable. Laboratory experiments using an E. coli mutant resistant to nalidixic acid showed that the ubiquitous slug species Deroceras reticulatum could carry viable E. coli on its external surface for up to 14 days. Slugs that had been fed E. coli shed viable bacteria in their feces with numbers showing a short but statistically significant linear log decline. Further, it was found that E. coli persisted for up to 3 weeks in excreted slug feces, and hence, we conclude that slugs have the potential to act as novel vectors of E. coli O157. (+info)
Heterogeneous perfusion of the paired gills of the abalone Haliotis iris Martyn 1784: an unusual mechanism for respiratory control.
The abalone Haliotis iris retains the ancestral gastropod arrangement of a pair of bipectinate gills (ctenidia). The gills share a single branchial chamber, are supplied from a common haemolymph sinus and effectively support the whole of oxygen uptake by the animal. Using chronic indwelling cannulae and pulsed Doppler probes, post-branchial haemolymph oxygen partial pressures (PaO2) and haemolymph flow rates were measured in the left and right efferent ctenidial veins. During periods of internal hypoxia following emersion and handling, total branchial haemolymph flow (24.4+/-3.6 ml kg-1 min-1) was partitioned nearly equally between the left and right gills (13.3+/-2.6 and 10.8+/-1.4 ml kg-1 min-1, respectively) and their PaO2 values were similar (81.9+/-6.1 and 87.3+/-4.7 mmHg, respectively). In animals settled for >24 h, branchial haemolymph flow decreased to 9.1+/-2.1 ml kg-1 min-1, primarily resulting from a virtual shutdown of the left gill flow to only 4.6% of total flow (left, 0.41+/-0.34 ml kg-1 min-1; right, 8.6+/-2.0 ml kg-1 min-1). At rest, right gill PaO2 (85.5+/-6.8 mmHg) was essentially unchanged while PaO2 of the slowly perfused left gill rose to 105.3+/-10.2 mmHg, close to the PO2 of the exhalant seawater (104.5+/-3.1 mmHg). The aerobic metabolic scope of H. iris therefore appears to be met primarily by circulatory adjustments at the left gill, which at rest is highly perfusion limited (left Ldiff, 0.14+/-0.07; right Ldiff, 0.44+/-0.08). (+info)
Host-symbiont relationships in hydrothermal vent gastropods of the genus Alviniconcha from the Southwest Pacific.
Hydrothermal vent gastropods of the genus Alviniconcha are unique among metazoans in their ability to derive their nutrition from chemoautotrophic gamma- and epsilon-proteobacterial endosymbionts. Although host-symbiont relationships in Alviniconcha gastropods from the Central Indian Ridge in the Indian Ocean and the Mariana Trough in the Western Pacific have been studied extensively, host-symbiont relationships in Alviniconcha gastropods from the Southwest Pacific remain largely unknown. Phylogenetic analysis using mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene sequences of host gastropods from the Manus, North Fiji, and Lau Back-Arc Basins in the Southwest Pacific has revealed a new host lineage in a Alviniconcha gastropod from the Lau Basin and the occurrence of the host lineage Alviniconcha sp. type 2 in the Manus Basin. Based on 16S rRNA gene sequences of bacterial endosymbionts, two gamma-proteobacterial lineages and one epsilon-proteobacterial lineage were identified in the present study. The carbon isotopic compositions of the biomass and fatty acids of the gastropod tissues suggest that the gamma- and epsilon-proteobacterial endosymbionts mediate the Calvin-Benson cycle and the reductive tricarboxylic acid cycle, respectively, for their chemoautotrophic growth. Coupling of the host and symbiont lineages from the three Southwest Pacific basins revealed that each of the Alviniconcha lineages harbors different bacterial endosymbionts belonging to either the gamma- or epsilon-Proteobacteria. The host specificity exhibited in symbiont selection provides support for the recognition of each of the host lineages as a distinct species. The results from the present study also suggest the possibility that Alviniconcha sp. types 1 and 2 separately inhabit hydrothermal vent sites approximately 120 m apart in the North Fiji Basin and 500 m apart in the Manus Basin. (+info)
Fossilized soft tissues in a Silurian platyceratid gastropod.
Gastropod shells are common in the fossil record, but their fossil soft tissues are almost unknown, and have not been reported previously from the Palaeozoic. Here, we describe a Silurian (approx. 425 Myr) platyceratid gastropod from the Herefordshire Lagerstatte that preserves the oldest soft tissues yet reported from an undoubted crown-group mollusc. The digestive system is preserved in detail, and morphological data on the gonads, digestive gland, pedal muscle, radula, mouth and foot are also available. The specimen is preserved three-dimensionally, and has been reconstructed digitally following serial grinding. Platyceratids are often found attached to echinoderms, and have been interpreted as either commensal coprophages or kleptoparasites. The new data provide support for an attached mode of life, and are suggestive of a coprophagous feeding strategy. The affinities of the platyceratids are uncertain; they have been compared to both the patellogastropods and the neritopsines. Analysis of the new material suggests that a patellogastropod affinity is the more plausible of these hypotheses. (+info)
Shell disease: abnormal conchiolin deposit in the abalone Haliotis tuberculata.
Shell disease in the abalone Haliotis tuberculata L. is characterized by a conchiolin deposit on the inner surface of the shell. The gross clinical signs appear similar to the Brown Ring Disease (BRD) of clams. BRD has been extensively described in clams and is known to be responsible for severe mortalities and the collapse of the clam aquaculture industry in western France. In the clam, it was found to be caused by the infection of the mantle by Vibrio tapetis. Brown protein deposits have been observed in various abalone species around the world; some of these have been associated with a fungal infection in New Zealand, but the ones described here are similar to bacterial infections observed in clams. Larger animals appeared to be more affected by the disease, and a positive correlation of the number of successive infections found in the shells with the level of infestation of the shell by borers suggests that boring polychaetes and sponges may be vectors of the disease, or that the parasite infestation may increase the susceptibility of the animal to this infection. There is no evidence, however, that this infection causes mortality in abalone. (+info)
Oocyte and egg organization in the patellogastropod Lottia and its bearing on axial specification during early embryogenesis.
In the basal gastropod Lottia, the apical region of the oocyte is normally the site where the meiotic apparatus attaches and polar body formation occurs following fertilization. This site marks the animal-vegetal axis of the egg. A stereotypical cleavage pattern is organized, and the segregation of developmental potential occurs along this axis during early development. The segregation of developmental potential is a relatively late event and probably does not start until after cleavage begins. By compressing oocytes during the process of germinal vesicle breakdown, the position where the meiotic apparatus attaches to the cell membrane can be altered so that it no longer corresponds to the apical end of the oocyte. This new site of polar body formation sets up a new animal-vegetal axis that organizes cleavage and the segregation of developmental potential. The timing of animal-vegetal axis specification in Lottia is much later than it is in derived gastropods with a precocious specification of the D quadrant. (+info)