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Convoluted history and confusing morphology: Molecular phylogenetic analysis of dicrocoeliids reveals true systematic position of the Anenterotrematidae Yamaguti, 1958 (Platyhelminthes, Digenea)

Tkach, Vasyl V., Achatz, Tyler J., Hildebrand, Joanna, Greiman, Stephen E.
Parasitology international 2018 v.67 no.4 pp. 501-508
Brachylecithum, Neotropics, digestive system, geographical distribution, monophyly, ribosomal DNA, small mammals, zoogeography, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, United States, Vietnam
The Dicrocoeliidae is a highly diverse family of digeneans parasitic in amniotic tetrapods. Detailed molecular phylogenetic analysis of dicrocoeliids is lacking and only a few dicrocoeliids from mammals have been included in previous studies. Sequence data were previously absent for the Anenterotrematidae that shares several morphological characteristics with dicrocoeliids. We examined phylogenetic affinities of several newly sequenced (nuclear 28S rDNA) taxa of dicrocoeliids and anenterotrematids collected from small mammals in Ecuador, Panama, Peru, USA and Vietnam. Our analyses demonstrated that the two anenterotrematid genera (Anenterotrema, Apharyngotrema) belong to the Dicrocoeliidae, placing the Anenterotrematidae into synonymy with the Dicrocoeliidae. Molecular data combined with morphological examination of type and new specimens provided evidence that Parametadelphis and Apharyngotrema are junior synonyms of Metadelphis, with all Metadelphis species lacking a digestive system. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrates that reduction of the alimentary tract in Lutztrema and its loss in Anenterotrema and Metadelphis represent at least two independent evolutionary events. Genera Brachylecithum, Brachydistomum, and Lyperosomum proved to be non-monophyletic, each likely representing more than a single genus. Furthermore, phylogenetic analysis did not support monophyly of the two largest subfamilies of the Dicrocoeliidae (Dicrocoeliinae and Leipertrematinae) with the other two subfamilies not included in this study. Therefore, we propose to abandon the current subfamily division of the Dicrocoeliidae. Analysis of host associations indicates multiple host-switching events throughout evolution of dicrocoeliids. Lastly, analysis of dicrocoeliid geographic distribution revealed that nearly all major clades included taxa from more than a single zoogeographic realm with the exception of the clade Anenterotrema + Metadelphis, found only in the Neotropics.