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, 63 (3), 834-47

Adding Resolution to Ordinal Level Relationships of Tapeworms (Platyhelminthes: Cestoda) With Large Fragments of mtDNA


Adding Resolution to Ordinal Level Relationships of Tapeworms (Platyhelminthes: Cestoda) With Large Fragments of mtDNA

Andrea Waeschenbach et al. Mol Phylogenet Evol.


The construction of a stable phylogeny for the Cestoda, indicating the interrelationships of recognised orders and other major lineages, has proceeded iteratively since the group first received attention from phylogenetic systematists. Molecular analyses using nuclear ribosomal RNA gene fragments from the small (ssrDNA) and large (lsrDNA) subunits have been used to test competing evolutionary scenarios based on morphological data but could not arbitrate between some key conflicting hypotheses. To the ribosomal data, we have added a contiguous fragment of mitochondrial (mt) genome data (mtDNA) of partial nad1-trnN-trnP-trnI-trnK-nad3-trnS-trnW-cox1-trnT-rrnL-trnC-partial rrnS, spanning 4034-4447 bp, where new data for this region were generated for 18 species. Bayesian analysis of mtDNA and rDNA as nucleotides, and where appropriate as amino acids, demonstrated that these two classes of genes provide complementary signal across the phylogeny. In all analyses, except when using mt amino acids only, the Gyrocotylidea is sister group to all other Cestoda (Nephroposticophora), and Amphilinidea forms the sister group to the Eucestoda. However, an earliest-diverging position of Amphilinidea is strongly supported in the mt amino acid analysis. Amphilinidea exhibit a unique tRNA arrangement (nad1-trnI-trnL2-trnP-trnK-trnV-trnA-trnN-nad3), whereas Gyrocotylidea shares that of the derived lineages, providing additional evidence of the uniqueness of amphilinid genes and genomes. The addition of mtDNA to the rDNA genes supported the Caryophyllidea as the sister group to (Spathebothriidea+remaining Eucestoda), a hypothesis consistently supported by morphology. This relationship suggests a history of step-wise evolutionary transitions from simple monozoic, unsegmented tapeworms to the more familiar polyzoic, externally segmented (strobilate) forms. All our data partitions recovered Haplobothriidea as the sister group to Diphyllobothriidae. The sister-group relationship between Diphyllidea and Trypanorhyncha, as previously established using rDNA, is not supported by the mt data, although it is supported by the combined mt and rDNA analysis. With regards to the more derived taxa, in all except the mt amino acid analysis, the following topology is supported: (Bothriocephalidea (Litobothriidea (Lecanicephalidea (Rhinebothriidea (Tetraphyllidea, (Acanthobothrium, Proteocephalidea), (Nippotaeniidea, Mesocestoididae, Tetrabothriidea, Cyclophyllidea)))))), where the Tetraphyllidea are paraphyletic. Evidence from the mt data provides strong (nucleotides) to moderate (amino acids) support for Tetraphyllidea forming a group to the inclusion of Proteocephalidea, with the latter consistently forming the sister group to Acanthobothrium. The interrelationships among Nippotaeniidea, Mesocestoididae, Tetrabothriidea and Cyclophyllidea remain ambiguous and require further systematic attention. Mitochondrial and nuclear rDNA data provide conflicting signal for certain parts of the cestode tree. In some cases mt data offer results in line with morphological evidence, such as the interrelationships of the early divergent lineages. Also, Tetraphyllidea, although remaining paraphyletic with the inclusion of the Proteocephalidea, does not include the most derived cestodes; a result which has consistently been obtained with rDNA.

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