Publication details

Myxobdella socotrensis sp. nov., a new parasitic leech from Socotra Island, with comments on the phylogeny of Praobdellidae (Hirudinida: Arhynchobdellida)



Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Parasitology International
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Annelida; Afrotropical region; Freshwater crab; New species; Systematics; Taxonomy
Description The Socotra Archipelago (Yemen) is remarkable for unique ecosystems and high endemism, for which it is often referred to as the “Galápagos of the Indian Ocean”. Here we describe a new parasitic leech Myxobdella socotrensis sp. nov. from Socotra, the largest island of the archipelago. The new species was found in a freshwater spring attached to the endemic crab Socotrapotamon socotrensis (Hilgendorf, 1883) (Crustacea: Potamidae). Based on its morphology, ecology and a phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data (12S, 18S, 28S and COI gene markers), the new leech species is classified into the highly diversified family Praobdellidae (Hirudinida: Arhynchobdellida), distributed in tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Central and South America. The praobdellid leeches are known to infest mammalian mucous membranes, however, some taxa are associated with other hosts, namely crabs, amphibians and birds. By its morphology, the new species fits quite well in the current concept of the genus Myxobdella Oka, 1917. However, the monophyly of Myxobdella was not supported here by molecular data, pointing at the need of a more comprehensive systematic revision of the genus and family. As far as known, Myxobdella socotrensis sp. nov. is endemic to the Socotra Island, but more data are needed to understand its evolutionary origin, biology and distribution.

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