Monday, May 2, 2011

Jelly Dance II

Spotted salamander eggs
There are other miraculous things about these salamander egg masses than the jelly dance of the rotating embryos, or the function of the egg's jelly layers.
Many, but not all, of the Yellow-spotted Salamander egg masses have a green hue like the one pictured above.

 That green hue is also visible in all these wood frog egg masses.

With a closer examination of those wood frog eggs,
you can see the green hue is coming from within an inner layer of the egg jelly.

 Now since I have a microscope handy, I can share with you a glimpse inside that jelly sac.
The green color in the eggs is coming from a sea of these microscopic algal cells.
   The alga pictured above is called oophila amblystomatis and it "loves salamander eggs" as well as some other amphibian eggs.
   These algae have a symbiotic relationship with the embryos. In these mutually beneficial relationships, the algal symbiont provides oxygen in return for carbon dioxide and other wastes from the embryos.  The helpless little embryos are provided with their own extra oxygen generators and carbon dioxide scrubbers (somewhat of a natural scuba rebreather system) to aid in the respiratory processes.
Wood frog eggs with symbiotic algae.
   I can gaze a long time at those embryos while they slowly glide around in their solar powered jelly green houses.  Some folks I know would describe those eggs as "slimy", but I prefer to call them "gelatinous but miraculous".

More to explore: 

1 comment:

  1. Dana, the "fogginess" of the mass is more like what I found. I am in awe of your wide knowledge of nature.

    It's like having my very own tutor.