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The ultrastructure of sea turtle eggshell does not contribute to interspecies variation in fungal invasion of the egg

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The eggshells of green (Chelonia mydas (L., 1758)), loggerhead (Caretta caretta (L., 1758)), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata (L., 1766)), and flatback (Natator depressus (Garman, 1880)) sea turtles nesting in eastern Australia were examined by scanning electron microscopy to determine if the ultrastructure was contributing to interspecific variation in fungal invasion of eggs. The eggshells of all species investigated were of similar structure (outer inorganic layer of aragonite crystals and an inner organic fibrillar layer) and of similar thickness. Well-defined pores that would allow direct entry of fungal hyphae or spores were not present in any species. It was concluded that the eggshell ultrastructure does not allow direct access by fungal hyphae or spores and does not contribute to interspecific variation in the vulnerability of loggerhead sea turtle eggs to fungal infection.

Nous avons examiné par microscopie électronique à balayage les coquilles des oeufs de la tortue verte (Chelonia mydas (L., 1758)), de la caouanne (Caretta caretta (L., 1758)), de la tortue imbriquée (Eretmochelys imbricata (L., 1766)) et de la chélonée à dos plat (Natator depressus (Garman, 1880)) qui nichent dans l’est de l’Australie afin de déterminer si l’ultrastructure contribue à la variation interspécifique dans l’infection des oeufs par les champignons. Les coquilles de toutes les espèces sont semblables en structure (couche externe inorganique d’aragonite et couche interne organique fibrillaire) et en épaisseur. Il n’y a chez aucune des espèces de pores bien définis qui pourraient permettre l’entrée directe d’hyphes ou de spores de champignons. Nous concluons que la structure de la coquille ne permet pas un accès direct des hyphes et des spores de champignons et qu’elle ne contribue pas à la variation interspécifique de la vulnérabilité des oeufs de tortues marines à l’infection par les champignons.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-09-01

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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