Mobilifilum chasei: Morphology and ecology of a spirochete from an intertidal stratified microbial mat community

Lynn Margulis, Gregory Hinkle, John Stolz, Floyd Craft, Isabel Esteve, Ricardo Guerrero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Spirochetes were found in the lower anoxiphototrophic layer of a stratified microbial mat (North Pond, Laguna Figueroa, Baja California, Mexico). Ultrastructural analysis of thin sections of field samples revealed spirochetes approximately 0.25 μm in diameter with 10 or more periplasmic flagella, leading to the interpretation that these spirochetes bear 10 flagellar insertions on each end. Morphometric study showed these free-living spirochetes greatly resemble certain symbiotic ones, i.e., Borrelia and certain termite spirochetes, the transverse sections of which are presented here. The ultrastructure of this spirochete also resembles Hollandina and Diplocalyx (spirochetes symbiotic in arthropods) more than it does Spirochaeta, the well known genus of mud-dwelling spirochetes. The new spirochete was detected in mat material cellected both in 1985 and in 1987. Unique morphology (i.e., conspicuous outer coat of inner membrane, large number of periplasmic flagella) and ecology prompt us to name a new free-living spirochete. © 1990 Springer-Verlag.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-427
JournalArchives of Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 1990


  • Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Intertidal cyanobacterial mats
  • Mexican microbes
  • Microbial community ecology
  • Microbial mats
  • Microcoleus
  • Mobilifilum
  • Spirochaeta
  • Spirochete flagella
  • Spirochete ultrastructure
  • Thiocapsa


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