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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2004 Mar;30(3):633-52.

Phylogeny of "Philoceanus complex" seabird lice (Phthiraptera: Ischnocera) inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequences.

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Division of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK.


The Philoceanus complex is a large assemblage of lice that parasitise procellariiform seabirds (petrels, albatrosses, and their relatives). We obtained mitochondrial 12S rRNA and cytochrome oxidase I DNA sequences from 39 species from diverse hosts and localities. Resolution of deeper relationships between genera was limited, however there is evidence for two major clades, one hosted by albatrosses, the other by petrels. Based on our results, the genera hosted by albatrosses are excellent candidates for detailed analysis of cospeciation. Our results also suggest that a previous estimate of a 5-fold difference in the relative rate of sequence evolution in lice and their avian hosts is an artefact of limited taxonomic sampling.

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