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Molecular Phylogeny of Marine Gregarine Parasites (Apicomplexa) from Tube-forming Polychaetes (Sabellariidae, Cirratulidae, and Serpulidae), Including Descriptions of Two New Species of Selenidium

Authors

  • Kevin C. Wakeman,

    Corresponding author
    • Departments of Botany and Zoology, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Program in Integrated Microbial Biodiversity, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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  • Brian S. Leander

    1. Departments of Botany and Zoology, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Program in Integrated Microbial Biodiversity, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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Correspondence

K.C. Wakeman, Departments of Botany and Zoology, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Program in Integrated Microbial Biodiversity, University of British Columbia, #3529 – 6270, University Blvd., Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada Telephone number: +1 604 822 2474; FAX number: +1 604 822 6089; e-mail: wakeman.kevin@gmail.com

Abstract

Selenidium is a genus of gregarine parasites that infect the intestines of marine invertebrates and have morphological, ecological, and motility traits inferred to reflect the early evolutionary history of apicomplexans. Because the overall diversity and phylogenetic position(s) of these species remain poorly understood, we performed a species discovery survey of Selenidium from tube-forming polychaetes. This survey uncovered five different morphotypes of trophozoites (feeding stages) living within the intestines of three different polychaete hosts. We acquired small subunit (SSU) rDNA sequences from single-cell (trophozoite) isolates, representing all five morphotypes that were also imaged with light and scanning electron microscopy. The combination of molecular, ecological, and morphological data provided evidence for four novel species of Selenidium, two of which were established in this study: Selenidium neosabellariae n. sp. and Selenidium sensimae n. sp. The trophozoites of these species differed from one another in the overall shape of the cell, the specific shape of the posterior end, the number and form of longitudinal striations, the presence/absence of transverse striations, and the position and shape of the nucleus. A fifth morphotype of Selenidium, isolated from the tube worm Dodecaceria concharum, was inferred to have been previously described as Selenidium cf. echinatum, based on general trophozoite morphology and host association. Phylogenetic analyses of the SSU rDNA sequences resulted in a robust clade of Selenidium species collected from tube-forming polychaetes, consisting of the two new species, the two additional morphotypes, S. cf. echinatum, and four previously described species (Selenidium serpulae, Selenidium boccardiellae, Selenidium idanthyrsae, and Selenidium cf. mesnili). Genetic distances between the SSU rDNA sequences in this clade distinguished closely related and potential cryptic species of Selenidium that were otherwise very similar in trophozoite morphology.

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