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Molecular systematics of marine gregarines (Apicomplexa) from North-eastern Pacific polychaetes and nemerteans, with descriptions of three novel species: Lecudina phyllochaetopteri sp. nov., Difficilina tubulani sp. nov. and Difficilina paranemertis sp. nov.

Chantangsi, C.; Leander, B. S.; Rueckert, S.


C. Chantangsi

B. S. Leander


Most eugregarine apicomplexans infecting the intestines of marine invertebrates have been described within the family Lecudinidae and the type genus Lecudina. The diversity of these parasites is vast and poorly understood and only a tiny number of species has been characterized at the molecular phylogenetic level. DNA sequences coupled with high-resolution micrographs of trophozoites provide an efficient and precise approach for delimiting gregarine lineages from one another and also facilitate our overall understanding of gregarine biodiversity. In this study, phylogenetic analyses of small subunit (SSU) rDNA sequences from five (uncultivated) gregarines isolated from polychaetes and nemerteans in the North-eastern Pacific Ocean are presented. Lecudina phyllochaetopteri sp. nov. was isolated from the intestines of the parchment tubeworm Phyllochaetopterus prolifica (Polychaeta). Lecudina longissima and Lecudina polymorpha were both isolated from the intestines of Lumbrineris japonica (Polychaeta). Difficilina tubulani sp. nov. was isolated from the nemertean Tubulanus polymorpha and Difficilina paranemertis sp. nov. was isolated from the nemertean Paranemertes peregrina. This is the first report of molecular sequence data from gregarines that infect nemerteans. The two novel species of the genus Difficilina described in this study formed a strongly supported clade in the phylogenetic analyses. This Difficilina clade formed the sister group to a robust subclade of lecudinids consisting of Lecudina longissima, Lecudina phyllochaetopteri sp. nov. (which lacked epicytic folds), Lecudina tuzetae, species of the genus Lankesteria and several sequences derived from previous environmental DNA surveys of marine biodiversity.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Dec 11, 2009
Publication Date Nov 1, 2010
Deposit Date Sep 25, 2013
Print ISSN 1466-5026
Electronic ISSN 1466-5034
Publisher Microbiology Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 60
Issue 11
Pages 2681-2690
Keywords Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics; Microbiology; General Medicine
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