• Heterotrophy;
  • LSU;
  • nematocyst;
  • peduncle;
  • protist;
  • SSU;
  • taxonomy

ABSTRACT. The heterotrophic dinoflagellate Gyrodiniellum shiwhaense n. gen., n. sp. is described from live cells and from cells prepared for light, scanning electron, and transmission electron microscopy. Also, sequences of the small subunit (SSU) and large subunit (LSU) of rDNA have been analyzed. The episome is conical, while the hyposome is ellipsoid. Cells are covered with polygonal amphiesmal vesicles arranged in 16 horizontal rows. Unlike other Gyrodinium-like dinoflagellates, the apical end of the cell shows a loop-shaped row of five elongate amphiesmal vesicles. The cingulum is displaced by 0.3–0.5 × cell length. Cells that were feeding on the dinoflagellate Amphidinium carterae Hulburt were 9.1–21.6 μm long and 6.6–15.7 μm wide. Cells of G. shiwhaense contain nematocysts, trichocysts, a peduncle, and pusule systems, but they lack chloroplasts. The SSU rDNA sequence is >3% different from that of the six most closely related species: Warnowia sp. (FJ947040), Lepidodinium viride Watanabe, Suda, Inouye, Sawaguchi & Chihara, Gymnodinium aureolum (Hulburt) Hansen, Gymnodinium catenatum Graham, Nematodinium sp. (FJ947039), and Gymnodinium sp. MUCC284 (AF022196), while the LSU rDNA is 11–12% different from that of Warnowia sp., G. aureolum, and Nematodinium sp. (FJ947041). The phylogenetic trees show that the species belongs in the Gymnodinium sensu stricto clade. However, in contrast to Gymnodinium spp., cells lack nuclear envelope chambers and a nuclear fibrous connective. Unlike Polykrikos spp., cells of which possess a taeniocyst–nematocyst complex, G. shiwhaense has nematocysts but lacks taeniocysts. It differs from Paragymnodinium shiwhaense Kang, Jeong, Moestrup & Shin by possessing nematocysts with stylets and filaments. Gyrodiniellum shiwhaense n. gen., n. sp. furthermore lacks ocelloids, in contrast to Warnowia spp., Nematodinium spp., and Proterythropsis spp. Based on morphological and molecular data, we suggest that the taxon represents a new species within a new genus.