Morphology, ontogeny, and phylogeny of two brackish urostylid ciliates (Protist, Ciliophora, Hypotricha)

J Eukaryot Microbiol. Nov-Dec 2014;61(6):594-610. doi: 10.1111/jeu.12137. Epub 2014 Aug 25.


The diversity of hypotrichous ciliates has encouraged numerous researchers to use a combination of morphological, morphogenetic, and phylogenetic data to provide a better understanding of the evolutionary relationships within this complex group. In this study, we investigate the morphology and morphogenesis of Pseudourostyla subtropica sp. nov., isolated from mangrove wetland. The new species can be distinguished from its congeners by the huge body size, many more adoral membranelles and marginal cirral rows, and numerous macronuclear nodules. In addition, we provide a morphological characterization of a population of Pseudourostyla nova Wiackowski 1988 from an estuarine habitat. The main events during binary fission of P. subtropica sp. nov. and the Chinese population of P. nova are also revealed to be conservative. The morphological, ontogenetic, and phylogenetic analyses based on the SSU rDNA sequences corroborate the monophyly of Pseudourostyla Borror, 1972, which corresponds well with previous research. The phylogenetic analyses also show that Pseudourostyla and Hemicycliostyla Stokes, 1886, both of which are assigned to the family Pseudourostylidae based on morphological and morphogenetic data, in fact fall into separated clades. The approximately unbiased tests, however, do not reject the possibility that the family Pseudourostylidae is a monophyletic lineage.

Keywords: Pseudourostyla nova; Pseudourostyla subtropica sp. nov.; morphogeny; new species; taxonomy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution
  • China
  • Ciliophora / classification*
  • Ciliophora / genetics
  • Ciliophora / physiology
  • Ciliophora / ultrastructure*
  • DNA, Protozoan / genetics
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Genes, rRNA
  • Morphogenesis
  • Phylogeny
  • Water Microbiology
  • Wetlands


  • DNA, Protozoan
  • DNA, Ribosomal