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Acta Protozool. 2010 Jan 22;48(4):291-319.

Morphological and Molecular Characterization of Some Peritrichs (Ciliophora: Peritrichida) from Tank Bromeliads, Including Two New Genera: Orborhabdostyla and Vorticellides.

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  • 1Universität Salzburg, FB Organismische Biologie, Salzburg, Austria.


Using standard methods, we studied the morphology and 18S rDNA sequence of some peritrich ciliates from tank bromeliads of Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Ecuador. The new genus Orborhabdostyla differs from Rhabdostyla by the discoidal macronucleus. Two species from the literature and a new species from Ecuadoran tank bromeliads are combined with the new genus: O. previpes (Claparède and Lachmann, 1857) nov. comb., O. kahli (Nenninger, 1948) nov. comb., and O. bromelicola nov. spec. Orborhabdostyla bromelicola is a slender species with stalk-like narrowed posterior half and operculariid/epistylidid oral apparatus. An epistylidid relationship is also suggested by the gene sequence. Vorticella gracilis, described by Dujardin (1841) from French freshwater, belongs to the V. convallaria complex but differs by the yellowish colour and the number of silverlines. The classification as a distinct species is supported by the 18S rDNA, which differs nearly 10% from that of V. convallaria s. str. Based on the new data, especially the very stable yellowish colour, we neotypify V. gracilis with the Austrian population studied by Foissner (1979). Vorticella gracilis forms a strongly supported phyloclade together with V. campanula, V. fusca and V. convallaria, while Vorticellides astyliformis and Vorticella microstoma branch in a separate, fully-supported clade that includes Astylozoon and Opisthonecta. The new genus Vorticellides comprises five small (usually < 60 μm), barrel-shaped species with two epistomial membranes: V. aquadulcis (Stokes, 1887) nov. comb., V. astyliformis (Foissner, 1981) nov. comb., V. platysoma (Stokes, 1887) nov. comb., V. infusionum (Dujardin, 1841) nov. comb., and V. (Spinivorticellides) echini (King, 1931) nov. comb. Two of these species are redescribed in the present study: V. astyliformis and V. aquadulcis, which is neotypified with a Costa Rican population. Pseudovorticella bromelicola nov. spec. differs from the congeners by the location of the two contractile vacuoles and the number of silverlines.

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