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Discovery of a Diverse Clade of Gregarine Apicomplexans (Apicomplexa: Eugregarinorida) from Pacific Eunicid and Onuphid Polychaetes, Including Descriptions ofParalecudinan. gen.,Trichotokara japonican. sp., andT. eunicaen. sp.

Rueckert, Sonja; Wakeman, Kevin C.; Leander, Brian S.


Kevin C. Wakeman

Brian S. Leander


Marine gregarines are poorly understood apicomplexan parasites with large trophozoites that inhabit the body cavities of marine invertebrates. Two novel species of gregarines were discovered in polychaete hosts collected in Canada and Japan. The trophozoites of Trichotokara japonica n. sp. were oval to rhomboidal shaped, and covered with longitudinal epicytic folds with a density of six to eight folds/micron. The nucleus was situated in the middle of the cell, and the mucron was elongated and covered with hair-like projections; antler-like projections also extended from the anterior tip of the mucron. The distinctively large trophozoites of Trichotokara eunicae n. sp. lacked an elongated mucron and had a tadpole-like cell shape consisting of a bulbous anterior region and a tapered tail-like posterior region. The cell surface was covered with longitudinal epicytic folds with a density of three to five folds/micron. Small subunit (SSU) rDNA sequences of both species were very divergent and formed a strongly supported clade with the recently described species Trichotokara nothriae and an environmental sequence (AB275074). This phylogenetic context combined with the morphological features of T. eunicae n. sp. required us to amend the description for Trichotokara. The sister clade to the Trichotokara clade consisted of environmental sequences and Lecudina polymorpha, which also possesses densely packed epicyctic folds (3–5 folds/micron) and a prominently elongated mucron. This improved morphological and molecular phylogenetic context justified the establishment of Paralecudina (ex. Lecudina) polymorpha n. gen. et comb.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Jan 24, 2013
Publication Date 2013-03
Deposit Date Sep 25, 2013
Print ISSN 1066-5234
Electronic ISSN 1550-7408
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 60
Issue 2
Pages 121-136
Keywords Microbiology
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