The genus Sepiola (Cephalopoda: Sepiolidae) contains 10 known species that occur in the Mediterranean Sea today. All Sepiola species have a light organ that contains at least one of two species of luminous bacteria, Vibrio fischeri and Vibrio logei. The two Vibrio species coexist in at least four Sepiola species (S. affinis, S. intermedia, S. ligulata, and S. robusta), and their concentrations in the light organ depend on changes in certain abiotic factors, including temperature. Strains of V. fischeri grew faster in vitro and in Sepiola juveniles when they were incubated at 26°C. In contrast, strains of V. logei grew faster at 18°C in culture and in Sepiola juveniles. When aposymbiotic S. affinis or S. ligulata juveniles were inoculated with one Vibrio species, all strains of V. fischeri and V. logei were capable of infecting both squid species at the optimum growth temperatures, regardless of the squid host from which the bacteria were initially isolated. However, when two different strains of V. fischeri and V. logei were placed in direct competition with each other at either 18 or 26°C, strains of V. fischeri were present in sepiolid light organs in greater concentrations at 26°C, whereas strains of V. logei were present in greater concentrations at 18°C. In addition to the competition experiments, the ratios of the two bacterial species in adult Sepiola specimens caught throughout the season at various depths differed, and these differences were correlated with the temperature in the surrounding environment. My findings contribute additional data concerning the ecological and environmental factors that affect host-symbiont recognition and may provide insight into the evolution of animal-bacterium specificity
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