Folia Parasitologica 62:003 (2015) | 10.14411/fp.2015.003
The present study analysed the taxonomic status and phylogenetic relationships of two species of xiphidiocercariae of the ʻmicrocotylaeʼ group, Cercaria pugnax La Valette St. George, 1855, from Viviparus viviparus (Linnaeus) in the Ukraine and Cercaria helvetica XII Dubois, 1928 from Bithynia tentaculata (Linnaeus) in Lithuania. Molecular phylogenetic analyses based on sequences of the ITS2 region and partial 28S gene of the nuclear rDNA revealed that both these xiphidiocercariae belong to the Lecithodendriidae Lühe, 1901 and represent larval stages of lecithodendriids parasitic in bats. Cercaria helvetica XII clustered with the typical representatives of the genus Lecithodendrium Looss, 1896, being very close, but not identical, to Lecithodendrium linstowi Dollfus, 1931. Sequences of C. pugnax matched exactly the sequences of adult Paralecithodendrium chilostomum (Mehlis, 1831). Morphological descriptions of the cercariae are included; these represent the first report of non-virgulate xiphidiocercariae belonging to the family Lecithodendriidae. Until now, the presence of glandular virgula organ in the region of the oral sucker was considered a robust synapomorphy for the Lecithodendriidae and several closely related families. Our results have shown that the relative importance of this character is in need of a re-assessment.
Received: June 6, 2014; Accepted: August 3, 2014; Prepublished online: November 26, 2014; Published online: January 1, 2015