Lingulodinium spp.

Lingulodinium cells. Photo credit Kudela Lab UCSC

Toxin Produced: Yessotoxin

Syndrome: None described. Blooms may be reddish brown in color.

The dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyedra (formerly Gonyaulax polyedra) can form spectacular red colored blooms in warm coastal waters. These “red tides” occur frequently along the coast of Southern California. A large red tide occurred summer and fall of 2005, and extended from San Diego to Ventura.

Lingulodinium polyedra is also responsible for magnificent displays of phosphorescence at night. Recent research shows that this species may produce a toxin called yessotoxin. The yessotoxins have previously been included in the diarrhetic shellfish poison (DSP) group, but the yessotoxin chemistry and toxicology differ distinctly from the DSP toxin family. Yessotoxin is now separated in its own phycotoxin group.