Publication details

Tiny worms from a mighty continent: high diversity and new phylogenetic lineages of African monogeneans



Year of publication 2012
Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Description The phylogenetic relationships between gyrodactylid monogeneans of African freshwater fishes and other representatives of Gyrodactylidae, covering a wide range of species and genera from both freshwater and marine systems were investigated. New complete SSU RNA sequences of 18 gyrodactylid species of eight genera together with ITS rRNA gene sequences of 8 species representing 7 genera were generated and complemented with GenBank sequences. The maximum likelihood and Bayesian analyses pointed to a paraphyletic nature of African Gyrodactylus species. They formed well-supported clades possibly indicating speciation within host taxa: 1) parasites of cichlids (Cichlidae); 2) parasites of catfishes (Siluriformes), consisting of a lineage infecting mochokids and one infecting clariids. Macrogyrodactylus spp. firmly clustered into a monophyletic group. The phylogenetic position of Diplogyrodactylus and Afrogyrodactylus was not well resolved. We found that Swingleus and Fundulotrema are very closely related and clearly cluster within Gyrodactylus. This supports earlier claims as to the paraphyly of Gyrodactylus and necessitates a revision of Swingleus and Fundulotrema. Furthermore, our analyses demonstrated the systematic value of morphological affinities in a few cases (Gyrodactyloides and Laminiscus; Gyrodactylus spp. of mainly oreochromine cichlids; Gyrodactylus thysi and a new congener; gyrodactylids from African characiform hosts). Molecular dating estimates confirmed a relatively young, certainly post-Gondwanan, origin of current gyrodactylid diversity.
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