Clarifying the taxonomic identity of a phylogenetically important group of eukaryotes: Planomonas is a junior synonym of Ancyromonas

J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2010 May-Jun;57(3):285-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1550-7408.2010.00477.x. Epub 2010 Apr 7.


Ancyromonas was first described in 1882 by Saville Kent, with the modern concept of the genus dating from 1979 with the work of Hänel. Since then, organisms assigned to Ancyromonas have been found to be common in diverse ecosystems, and the group's isolated phylogenetic placement renders it of considerable evolutionary interest. However, in 2008 Cavalier-Smith et al. concluded that all modern accounts of Ancyromonas were of a different organism from that described by Saville Kent, and erected the new genus Planomonas to encompass modern observations of Ancyromonas, and several new species. We critique the rationale for creating this new genus, reexamining the original sources and making additional observations using light and electron microscopy. We find that almost all the differences between the genera are mistaken or insubstantial. In particular, (1) Cavalier-Smith et al. characterized Ancyromonas sensu Saville Kent as anchoring and Planomonas as gliding, while we find that each type of organism actually does both, and (2) it was claimed that Planomonas is flattened while Ancyromonas sensu Saville Kent is not, but this argument is inconsistent. We treat Planomonas as a junior synonym of Ancyromonas, and Planomonas mylnikovi as a junior synonym of Ancyromonas sigmoides. We transfer Planomonas cephalopora, Planomonas micra, Planomonas howeae and Planomonas limna to Ancyromonas. The genus Ancyromonas therefore includes: A. sigmoides, Ancyromonas cephalopora n. comb., Ancyromonas melba, Ancyromonas sinistra, Ancyromonas micra n. comb., Ancyromonas howeae n. comb., and Ancyromonas limna n. comb.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division
  • Eukaryota / classification*
  • Eukaryota / cytology
  • Eukaryota / genetics
  • Eukaryota / physiology
  • Phylogeny*