Two separate organisms on their way to becoming symbiotic

Posted in Evolution by Mike Stay on 2009 July 6

The single-celled Hatena and the algae Nephrosolmis live independent lives: Hatena has a “mouth” with which it eats smaller creatures and organic material; Nephrosolmis gets its food from sunlight. But when Hatena eats Nephrosolmis, the algae grows inside it, discards its organelles, changes its mouth into an eyespot, and swims toward light. The algae makes enough food to keep them both alive. When Hatena reproduces, one daughter keeps all the algae, and the other goes hunting again.

See also solar-powered sea slugs.


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