No common name

Convolutriloba longifissura

FAMILY Sagittiferidae

TAXONOMY

Convolutriloba longifissura Bartolomaeus and Balzer, 1997.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS Oval wormlike creatures, colored green by the presence of symbiotic algae in their tissues. Convo-lutriloba longifissura, like other members of Sagittiferidae, bears sagittocysts, which are tiny hooklike projections that form in and arise from the epidermis. Sagittocysts are used for defense and capturing prey. Convo-lutriloba longifissura carries its sagitto-cysts on its dorsal (upper) surface.

DISTRIBUTION Widespread.

Convolutriloba longifissura

HABITAT

Shallow marine sand beds.

BEHAVIOR Nothing is known.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Ingests smaller organisms, while carrying symbiotic Tetraselmis algae within its epidermis as well as internally. Unlike Convoluta roscoffensis, however, Convolutriloba longifissura regularly digests individual members of its onboard complement of algae.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Reproduces sexually by mating between male and female individuals (dermal impregnation). The eggs are fertilized internally and then released. It also reproduces asexually by fission. In fission, the hindmost fourth of the maternal animal separates itself in a transverse direction and drops away. The fragment divides longitudinally and the new individuals form eyes and mouths over a period of 2-3 days. Meanwhile, the maternal animal regrows the lost section and repeats the fissioning process, thus launching a new group of offspring every four days.

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