MORPHOLOGY MEETS MOLECULES: A NEW GENUS AND TWO NEW SPECIES OF DIPHYLLIDEAN CESTODES FROM THE YELLOWSPOTTED SKATE,LEUCORAJA WALLACEI, FROM SOUTH AFRICA


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Abstract

abstract:Two morphologically disparate undescribed species of diphyllidean cestodes from the Yellowspotted skate, Leucoraja wallacei, from South Africa were included in a recent molecular phylogenetic study aimed at revising diphyllidean classification. From a molecular standpoint, these species were determined to be only distantly related to one another. One (originally referred to as Echinobothrium n. sp. 2) showed affinities with species of the batoid-parasitizing Echinobothrium sensu stricto and is described here as Echinobothrium marquesi n. sp. This species most closely resembles Echinobothrium joshuai, an affinity supported by the previous molecular study, but differs in the form of its “B” hooks and degree of overlap between bothria and cephalic peduncle. The other species (originally referred to as New genus n. sp. 1), although exhibiting the full complement of scolex armature, grouped among primarily shark-hosted genera, most of which lack or exhibit reduced scolex armatures. That unexpected result suggested that erection of a novel genus might be warranted, but morphological grounds supporting the action were not apparent at that time. The present study aimed to explore the morphology of this taxon in more detail. Light and scanning electron microscopy revealed this taxon to be exceptional in that its lateral hooklets, which are arranged in 2 clusters like those of Echinobothrium and Coronocestus, are unique in being arranged in anterior and posterior rows, rather than in a single row. Andocadoncum n. gen. is erected, with Andocadoncum meganae n. sp. as its type, to accommodate this taxon. A minor adjustment to the existing hook formula by presenting counts for the anterior hooklets (a) separately from the posterior hooklets (b) readily accommodates this new form. Leucoraja wallacei is distinctive among skates in hosting 2 different genera of diphyllideans. In the context of the previous molecular phylogenetic analyses, it appears that the presence of Andocadoncum n. gen. in this skate species may be the result of a host-switching event involving a weakly or unarmed shark-hosted taxon moving to a batoid—a shift that was likely accompanied by a return to the fully armed condition seen, for example, in other batoid-parasitizing members of the order.

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