Phylogenetic relationships of the genus Dugesia (Platyhelminthes, Tricladida, Paludicola)



A phylogenetic analysis was performed on the genera and subgenera within the freshwater triclad family Dugesiidae, based on 19 terminal taxa and 17 morphological characters. The phylogenetic tree proposed has length of 27 steps and consistency index of 0.66. This phylogenetic hypothesis implies that the current genus Dugesia is paraphyletic and that its subgenera Girardia, Schmidiea and Dugesia S.S. should be elevated to the rank of genus. The genera Cura, Spathula and Neppia are presumed monophyletic by default because the database was unable to provide autapomorphies for any of these genera. The genera Dugesia S.S. and Neppia share sistergroup relationship. Several characters are discussed which were previously considered to be of phylogenetic importance but were not included in the present analysis. It is emphasized that sensory organs form potentially useful set of phylogenetic characters for the Dugesiidae.