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Keywords:

  • Euglenophyta;
  • loricates;
  • LSU rDNA;
  • molecular markers;
  • phylogeny;
  • SSU rDNA;
  • Strombomonas;
  • Trachelomonas

Previous studies using the nuclear SSU rDNA and partial LSU rDNA have demonstrated that the euglenoid loricate taxa form a monophyletic clade within the photosynthetic euglenoid lineage. It was unclear, however, whether the loricate genera Trachelomonas and Strombomonas were monophyletic. In order to determine the relationships among the loricate taxa, SSU and LSU nuclear rDNA sequences were obtained for eight Strombomonas and 25 Trachelomonas strains and combined in a multigene phylogenetic analysis. Conserved regions of the aligned data set were used to generate maximum-likelihood (ML) and Bayesian phylogenies. Both methods recovered a strongly supported monophyletic loricate clade with Strombomonas and Trachelomonas species separated into two sister clades. Taxa in the genus Strombomonas sorted into three subclades. Within the genus Trachelomonas, five strongly supported subclades were recovered in all analyses. Key morphological features could be attributed to each of the subclades, with the major separation being that all of the spine-bearing taxa were located in two sister subclades, while the more rounded, spineless taxa formed the remaining three subclades. The separation of genera and subclades was supported by 42 distinct molecular signatures (33 in Trachelomonas and nine in Strombomonas). The morphological and molecular data supported the retention of Trachelomonas and Strombomonas as separate loricate genera.