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An Ascomycete Commensal on the Gills of Bathynerita naticoidea, the Dominant Gastropod at Gulf of Mexico Hydrocarbon Seeps

Jill M. Zande
Invertebrate Biology
Vol. 118, No. 1 (Winter, 1999), pp. 57-62
Published by: Wiley on behalf of American Microscopical Society
DOI: 10.2307/3226912
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3226912
Page Count: 6
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An Ascomycete Commensal on the Gills of Bathynerita naticoidea, the Dominant Gastropod at Gulf of Mexico Hydrocarbon Seeps
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Abstract

The discovery of a fungal commensal on the gills of Bathynerita naticoidea, the dominant gastropod at petroleum seep communities located along the Gulf of Mexico upper continental slope (500-800 m), is reported. Light and electron micrographs revealed filamentous fungi of the class Ascomycetes and unidentified fungal bodies associated with the gill tissue of each of the 7 freshly collected specimens of B. naticoidea examined. Fungi were found attached to the surface of the gill cells, intercellularly, within the gill blood spaces, enclosed in otherwise empty intracellular vacuoles, and external but adjacent to the gill tissue. The exact nature of this fungal association is unknown; the fungi may act to detoxify the hydrocarbons and sulfide compounds of the seep environment, or may be parasites that have infected the gill tissue. Although chemoautotrophic and methanotrophic bacterial symbionts have been found previously within the gills of deep-sea (2200-3000 m) hydrothermal vent gastropods, there was no evidence of bacterial symbionts within the gills of B. naticoidea. This is the first report of a fungal association within gastropods endemic to hydrocarbon seep or hydrothermal vent communities.

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