A redescription of morphologically similar species from the genus Euglena: E. laciniata, E. sanguinea, E. sociabilis, and E. splendens1



Euglena sanguinea (Ehrenberg 1831) was one of the first green euglenoid species described in the literature. At first, the species aroused the interest of researchers mainly due to the blood-red color of its cells, which, as it later turned out, is not a constant feature. Complicated chloroplast morphology, labeled by Pringsheim as the “peculiar chromatophore system”, made the correct identification of the species difficult, which is the reason why, throughout the 20th century, new species resembling E. sanguinea were continually being named due to a lack of suitable diagnostic features to distinguish E. sanguinea. Interest in E. sanguinea has returned in recent years, following findings that the species can produce ichthyotoxins. This was followed by the need to classify E. sanguinea correctly, which was achieved through the verification of morphological and molecular data for all species similar to E. sanguinea. As the result of the analysis, the number of species sharing some morphological similarities with E. sanguinea could be reduced from 12, as described in the literature, to four, with established epitypes and updated diagnostic descriptions. The most important diagnostic features included: the presence of mucocysts (i.e., whether they were visible before and/or after staining), the number of chloroplasts, the size of the double-sheathed pyrenoids, and the presence of the large paramylon grain in the vicinity of the stigma. Moreover, sequence analysis revealed the presence of unusually long SSU rDNA sequences in E. sanguinea. Previously, SSU rDNA sequences of such length were known to be present in primary osmotrophic euglenoids.