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Protist. 2006 Aug;157(3):261-78. Epub 2006 Jul 13.

Molecular phylogeny of litostome ciliates (Ciliophora, Litostomatea) with emphasis on free-living haptorian genera.

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Department of Integrative Biology, College of Biological Science, University of Guelph, N1G 2W1 Guelph, Ontario, Canada. <>


The monophyly of the litostomes was tested using nine newly sequenced and four previously unpublished small subunit ribosomal RNA (SSrRNA) gene sequences from free-living Haptoria as well as from endosymbiotic Trichostomatia: the vestibuliferids Balantidium coli and Isotricha prostoma, the cyclotrichiid Mesodinium pulex, and the haptorids Loxophyllum rostratum, Dileptus sp., Enchelyodon sp., Enchelys polynucleata, Epispathidium papilliferum (isolates A and B), Spathidium stammeri, Arcuospathidium muscorum, Arcuospathidium cultriforme, and the unusual Teuthophrys trisulca. Phylogenetic analyses depicted the litostomes as a monophyletic group consisting of the trichostomes (subclass Trichostomatia) and the free-living haptorians (subclass Haptoria). The cyclotrichiids Mesodinium and Myrionecta (order Cyclotrichiida) branched either basally within or outside the Litostomatea. In most analyses, the haptorians did not receive support as a monophyletic group. Instead, Dileptus branched basally to all litostome taxa, and Epispathidium papilliferum grouped with the Subclass Trichostomatia. Some subgroupings, however, of haptorian genera corresponded to suggested superfamilial taxa (e.g., orders Spathidiida and Pleurostomatida). Within the monophyletic trichostomes, we can distinguish three clades: (1) an Australian clade; (2) the order Entodiniomorphida; and (3) the order Vestibuliferida. However, Balantidium, currently classified in the Vestibuliferida, did not group with the other vestibuliferids, suggesting that this order may be paraphyletic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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