Folia Parasitologica, vol. 48 (2001), issue 2

Folia Parasitologica 48[2] 81-103 (2001) | 10.14411/fp.2001.013

The interrelationships of metazoan parasites: a review of phylum- and higher-level hypotheses from recent morphological and molecular phylogenetic analyses

Jan Zrzavý
Department of Zoology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of South Bohemia, and Institute of Entomology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Branišovská 31, 370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic

Phylogeny of seven groups of metazoan parasitic groups is reviewed, based on both morphological and molecular data. The Myxozoa (=Malacosporea + Myxosporea) are most probably related to the egg-parasitic cnidarian Polypodium (Hydrozoa?: Polypodiozoa); the other phylogenetic hypotheses are discussed and the possible non-monophyly of the Cnidaria (with the Polypodiozoa-Myxozoa clade closest to the Triploblastica) is suggested. The Mesozoa is a monophyletic group, possibly closely related to the (monophyletic) Acoelomorpha; whether the Acoelomorpha and Mesozoa represent the basalmost triploblast clade(s) or a derived platyhelminth subclade may depend on rooting the tree of the Triploblastica. Position of the monophyletic Neodermata (=Trematoda + Cercomeromorpha) within the rhabditophoran flatworms is discussed, with two major alternative hypotheses about the neodermatan sister-group relationships (viz., the "neoophoran" and "revertospermatan"). The Myzostomida are not annelids but belong among the Platyzoa, possibly to the clade of animals with anterior sperm flagella (=Prosomastigozoa). The Acanthocephala represent derived syndermates ("rotifers"), possibly related to Seison (the name Pararotatoria comb. n. is proposed for Seisonida + Acanthocephala). The crustacean origin of the Pentastomida based on spermatological and molecular evidence (Pentastomida + Branchiura = Ichthyostraca) is confronted with palaeontological views favouring the pre-arthropod derivation of the pentastomids. Phylogenetic position of the nematodes within the Ecdysozoa and evolution of nematode parasitism are discussed, and the lack of relevant information about the enigmatic ectoproctan parasite Buddenbrockia is emphasised.

Keywords: phylogeny, parasitism, Myxozoa, Mesozoa, Neodermata, Myzostomida, Seisonida, Acanthocephala, Pentastomida, Nematomorpha, Nematoda

Received: August 29, 2000; Accepted: December 14, 2000; Published: June 1, 2001


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