The evolution of the Proteocephalidea (Platyhelminthes, Eucestoda) based on an enlarged molecular phylogeny, with comments on their uterine development

Syst Parasitol. 2004 Mar;57(3):159-71. doi: 10.1023/B:SYPA.0000019083.26876.34.


We present a molecular phylogeny of the Proteocephalidea based on 28S rDNA sequence data that is a follow-up to the paper by Zehnder & Mariaux (1999). Twenty-three new sequences, including three outgroups are added in our new data-set. The Gangesiinae Mola, 1929 and the Acanthotaeniinae Freze, 1963 appear to be the most primitive clades. They are followed by a robust clade comprising the Palaearctic Proteocephalinae Mola, 1929 from freshwater fishes. The structure of the more derived clades, comprising most Neotropical and Nearctic species, is less resolved. At the nomenclatural level, we erect a new genus, Glanitaenia n. g. for G. osculata (Goeze, 1782) n. comb., previously Proteocephalus osculatus, and define an aggregate for the Palaearctic Proteocephalus Weinland, 1858. After a re-examination of all of the studied taxa, we identify two types of uterine development and show the importance of this character for the systematics of the order. Our phylogeny does not support the classical view of a Neotropical origin for the Proteocephalidea but rather favours an Old World origin of the group either in saurians or Palaearctic Siluriformes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • DNA, Helminth / genetics
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Fishes / parasitology*
  • Fresh Water
  • Phylogeny
  • Platyhelminths / anatomy & histology
  • Platyhelminths / classification*
  • Platyhelminths / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 28S / analysis
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Species Specificity


  • DNA, Helminth
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 28S