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The importance of integrative approaches in nematode taxonomy: the validity of Parapharyngodon and Thelandros as distinct genera

  • A. De Sousa (a1), F. Jorge (a2), M.A. Carretero (a1), D.J. Harris (a1) (a3), V. Roca (a4) and A. Perera (a1)...

Abstract

Despite the advances of molecular tools, new nematode species are still described mainly based on morphological characters. Parapharyngodon and Thelandros are two genera of oxyurids with unclear related taxonomic histories. Here we use morphological characters (linear measurements and categorical variables) and genetic information (18S rRNA, 28S rRNA and COI partial gene sequences) to confirm the relationships between representatives of these two genera and to determine whether they can be discriminated morphologically. Genetic results confirm the existence of two main clades, mostly congruent with Parapharyngodon and Thelandros genera but with several discordances. Thelandros is polyphyletic, with two of the species analysed (T. filiformis and T. tinerfensis) being part of the Thelandros clade, but with a third one (T. galloti) falling within the Parapharyngodon clade. Regarding the Parapharyngodon clade, P. cubensis, P. scleratus and Parapharyngodon sp. from Mexico form congruent lineages, while most P. echinatus samples cluster in another group, with one exception. Interestingly, P. micipsae samples are scattered across the Parapharyngodon clade, suggesting that they were misidentified or rather represent alternative morphotypes of other species. Morphological analysis identified the length of the tail, number of caudal papillae, position of the nerve ring, presence of caudal alae and length of the lateral alae as reliable characters to distinguish between Parapharyngodon and Thelandros genetic clades. Our study highlights the current taxonomic inconsistency in these groups, mainly derived from the exclusive use of morphological data. As such, we advocate for the routine implementation of molecular data in nematode taxonomic studies.

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Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: A. Perera, E-mail: perera@cibio.up.pt

References

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The importance of integrative approaches in nematode taxonomy: the validity of Parapharyngodon and Thelandros as distinct genera

  • A. De Sousa (a1), F. Jorge (a2), M.A. Carretero (a1), D.J. Harris (a1) (a3), V. Roca (a4) and A. Perera (a1)...

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