Examination of sexual reproduction in a symbiotic acoelomorph worm, Waminoa brickneri from Eilat (Red Sea), presents the first definitive evidence for maternal transmission of dinoflagellate algal symbionts in a triploblastic organism. Sexually mature worms were removed from the stony coral Plesiastrea laxa and raised in the laboratory. Eggs were detected 18 d after the collection of the worms and hatched 4 d later. Histological sections performed on sexually mature worms showed an ovary with oocytes containing two distinct types of algal endosymbionts within their ooplasm. Transmission electron microscopy corroborated the presence of algal symbionts within the developing embryos. Our findings regarding maternal transmission of symbionts shed new light on the diversity of modes of algal symbiont acquisition known in triploblastic organisms.
- Waminoa brickneri