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Some algae are known to grow on shellfish shells. Most of these have been reported in aquatic environments. The species specificity for substrate shells varies, and some algae grow only on the shells of a certain species of shellfish, such as Pseudocladophora conchopheria (Cladophorales, Ulvophyceae) on Lunella coreensis (Trochida, Gastropoda). There are very few reports of algae that grow on land snails. In this study, we discovered green algae growing on the shells of six species of door snails (Clausiliidae) from nine localities in Japan. These green algae formed a green mat composed of thalli embedded in the extracellular matrix. The thallus was composed of aggregated oval cells and peripheral branched filaments. The cells possessed a single parietal chloroplast with a pyrenoid surrounded by two starch sheaths and transversed by a thylakoid. Oil droplets in the cell and ring-like structures on the cell wall surface were frequently observed. The 18S rDNA sequences of all shell-attached algae on different clausiliid species from different localities were almost identical and formed a new clade in the family Kornmanniaceae (Ulvales, Ulvophyceae). No other algae forming visible colonies on the clausiliid shell were found. These findings indicate the presence of specificity between the alga and clausiliid shells. Based on the results of morphological observation and molecular phylogenetic analysis, we propose a new genus and new species of shell-attached green alga, Annulotesta cochlephila.


Noriaki Namba, Takeshi Nakayama. Taxonomic study of a new green alga, Annulotesta cochlephila gen. et sp. nov. (Kornmanniaceae, Ulvales, Ulvophyceae), growing on the shells of door snails. Journal of plant research. 2021 Jan;134(1):77-89

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PMID: 33387091

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