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Phenotypic plasticity of six unusual cercariae in nassariid gastropods and their relationships to the Acanthocolpidae and Brachycladiidae (Digenea)
journal contributionposted on 27.07.2018, 00:00 by Leonie Barnett, TL Miller
Species-level relationships of a complex of six putative acanthocolpid cercariae with ventral keels from nassariid gastropods from Capricornia, Queensland (Cercaria capricornia I–VI) were explored using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequence data. Analysis of the large subunit of nuclear ribosomal DNA (rDNA), the internal transcribed spacer 2 rDNA and subunit 3 of the nicotinamide-adenine-dinucleotide dehydrogenase mitochondrial gene indicates that the six distinct morphotypes previously identified relate to only three discrete genotypes. Consequently, the six cercarial morphotypes that were inferred to represent six species and distinguished previously based on morphology and behaviour, are considered here to be comprised of three species (i.e. Cercaria capricornia I and II are considered the same species, C. capricornia types III to V are considered to belong to a second species and C. capricornia VI is considered to comprise the third species in this complex). This recognition of reduced diversity following molecular analysis runs contrary to the more frequently reported uncovering of cryptic diversity, especially when larval trematodes are examined. Phylogenetic analysis of these morphologically unusual cercariae supports their inclusion in the Acanthocolpidae. Bayesian inference analysis identifies three distinct clades: (a) Stephanostomum + Monostephanostomum; (b) the Brachycladiidae and Pleorchis; and (c) Tormopsolus and the present cercariae. Genus-level identification of these cercariae remains uncertain given the current lack of available comparative genetic data on nucleic acid databases. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.