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Keywords:

  • Beech forest;
  • flexible/rigid body;
  • Italian fauna;
  • Sibillini Park;
  • soil ciliates

Abstract

A terrestrial oxytrichid ciliate Paraparentocirrus sibillinensis n. gen., n. sp., which was found in soil samples of a beech forest stand within the National Park of Sibillini Mountains, Italy, was investigated using live observation and protargol impregnation. The morphology of interphase, morphogenesis, and molecular phylogeny inferred from SSU rDNA sequences of this ciliate were studied. Paraparentocirrus n. gen., is mainly characterized by a semirigid body, an undulating membrane in the Oxytricha pattern, six fronto-ventral (FV) rows, the absence of transverse cirri, one right and one left row of marginal cirri, four dorsal kineties, two dorsomarginal rows, and caudal cirri at the end of dorsal kinety 4. During morphogenesis, oral primordia develop through the proliferation of basal bodies from some cirri of FV rows 4 and 5, and FV row 6 takes part in the anlagen formation of the proter. The dorsal morphogenesis was typical of oxytrichids, with simple fragmentation of dorsal kinety 3, and the dorsomarginal rows developed from the right marginal row. Phylogenetic analyses based on the SSU rDNA sequences support the classification of this new genus in the stylonychines.