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Botanica Marina

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Volume 56, Issue 5-6


Morphology and life stages of the potentially pinnatoxin-producing thecate dinoflagellate Vulcanodinium rugosum from the tropical Mexican Pacific

David U. Hernández-Becerril
  • Corresponding author
  • Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Apartado Postal 70-305, México D.F. 04510, México
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  • Other articles by this author:
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/ Mónica C. Rodríguez-Palacio
  • Laboratorio de Ficología Aplicada, Departamento de Hidrobiología, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa, Apartado Postal 55-535, México, D.F. 09340, México
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  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Cruz Lozano-Ramírez
  • Laboratorio de Ficología Aplicada, Departamento de Hidrobiología, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa, Apartado Postal 55-535, México, D.F. 09340, México
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Published Online: 2013-10-29 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bot-2013-0079


During a phytoplankton survey, non-motile (cyst-like) cells were isolated and cultured from the tropical Mexican Pacific, which belong to the thecate dinoflagellate Vulcanodinium rugosum Nézan et Chomérat, recently described from the Mediterranean and recently identified as a source of pinnatoxins in Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Motile cells and putative cysts were studied by light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. The most characteristic features of the species agree with a previous description: (i) large and conspicuous apical pore, which extrudes mucilaginous material; (ii) polygonal and striated theca; (iii) ventral, sigmoid canal running from the apical pore to the anterior margin of the cingulum; (iv) three connected anterior intercalary plates; and (v) production of spherical cyst-like cells. The species is photosynthetic, containing many small greenish-brown chloroplasts. The tabulation of the species is Po, X, 4′, 3a, 7″, 6c, 5s?, 5′″, 2″″. Organic cyst-like cells were nearly spherical to subspherical, solitary, or aggregations linked by mucilaginous material; they are considered to be a stage in the life cycle of the species. Vulcanodinium rugosum is a new record in the study area. The ecology and the geographical distribution of the species are also discussed.

Keywords: dinoflagellates; Mexican Pacific; new record; phytoplankton; Vulcanodinium rugosum


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About the article

Corresponding author: David U. Hernández-Becerril, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Apartado Postal 70-305, México D.F. 04510, México, e-mail:

Received: 2013-08-23

Accepted: 2013-10-02

Published Online: 2013-10-29

Published in Print: 2013-12-01

Citation Information: Botanica Marina, Volume 56, Issue 5-6, Pages 535–540, ISSN (Online) 1437-4323, ISSN (Print) 0006-8055, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bot-2013-0079.

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