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Taxonomic status of Rhabdochona ictaluri (Nematoda: Rhabdochonidae) based on molecular and morphological evidence

Lagunas-Calvo, Omar, Santacruz, Ana, Hernández-Mena, David Iván, Rivas, Gerardo, Pérez-Ponce de León, Gerardo, Aguilar-Aguilar, Rogelio
Parasitology research 2019 v.118 no.2 pp. 441-452
Ictaluridae, Rhabdochona, catfish, freshwater fish, genes, mitochondria, parasites, phylogeny, taxonomy, zoogeography, Mexico
The genus Rhabdochona includes more than 100 species infecting freshwater fishes in all zoogeographical regions of the world. In Mexico, 12 nominal species of Rhabdochona have been recorded. Of these, Rhabdochona ictaluri was originally described as a parasite of endemic catfishes of the family Ictaluridae; however, the species was later considered on morphological grounds as a junior synonym of Rhabdochona kidderi. In this study, newly sampled specimens of R. ictaluri were obtained from the type host and type locality and were used to perform a detailed morphological analysis and molecular phylogenetic inferences through one mitochondrial and two nuclear genes; data were used in an integrative taxonomy context to test the taxonomic status of R. ictaluri. This approach proved to be very useful to confirm the validity of this species, and robust species limits were established between these two putative species considering morphology, molecular data, host association, and biogeography.