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Evidence of new species of Haematoloechus (Platyhelminthes: Digenea) using partial cox1 sequences

Date: December 2010

Pub: Mitochondrial DNA, 2010, Vol. 21 No. S1: 12-17

Author(s): Virginia León-Règagnon


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Background and aims. Haematoloechus, digeneans parasites of amphibians, is a species-rich genus with more than 50 species around the globe. Establishing an accurate taxonomy for this group has been difficult due to high intraspecific variability. Nuclear DNA sequences have given independent information about species validity and phylogeny of the group.
Materials and methods. In this paper, I test the performance of partial sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (cox1) gene in the differentiation of recognized species of the genus and in the detection of potential new taxa. Samples from 13 nominal species were sequenced, plus four samples that could not be assigned to any described species based on morphology.
Results. Parsimony analysis of the amplified 360 bp fragment resulted in six most parsimonious trees showing the same grouping of samples, differing in the samples’ arrangement within those groups. All 13 species were recovered on the trees, and five potential new species are shown.
Conclusion. Additional sampling and sequencing is necessary to support this hypothesis, but with this preliminary information the search for diagnostic characters that allow the description of the new taxa is less difficult.

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