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Keywords:

  • Cercozoa;
  • flagellate diversity;
  • groundwater;
  • Gyromitus;
  • Imbricatea;
  • molecular phylogeny;
  • ribosomal RNA;
  • running waters;
  • Silicofilosea

ABSTRACT. The order Thaumatomonadida includes biflagellated heterotrophic flagellates that form filopodia and typically possess siliceous surface scales. We found thaumatomonads to contribute on average about 5%–10% to flagellate abundance in different benthic habitats. A new species of thaumatomonads, Thaumatomonas coloniensis n. sp., is described on the basis of morphological and molecular biological features. This new species was isolated both from groundwater at Appeldorn near Rees (Germany) and from the Rhine River at Cologne (Germany). We have sequenced the small subunit rRNA (ssu rRNA) gene and a fragment of the large subunit rRNA (lsu rRNA) gene (D3–D5 region) from the isolates of the new species, including the first sequence of a representative of the thaumatomonad genus Gyromitus. In agreement with previous studies, the differences in ribosomal genes of different thaumatomonad species are very small. For understanding the phylogenetic relationships of Thaumatomonadida and to explore their sister group relationships, we have created three sequence data sets (ssu rRNA, partial lsu rRNA, concatenated alignment of both) with the same composition of isolates (from Thaumatomonadida, Euglyphida, Cercomonadidae, and Heteromitidae). According to a Kishino–Hasegawa test, Thaumatomonadida evolved within the Cercozoa as a sister taxon to the Heteromitidae. A possibly close relationship to the Euglyphida, recently grouped together with the Thaumatomonadida in the class Imbricatea/Silicofilosea based on the rRNA data sets was not supported by our analyses.