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Parasitol Int. 2018 Aug;67(4):493-500. doi: 10.1016/j.parint.2018.04.008. Epub 2018 Apr 25.

Allopatric speciation of Meteterakis (Heterakoidea: Heterakidae), a highly dispersible parasitic nematode, in the East Asian islands.

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Department of Zoology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Sakyo, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan. Electronic address:


To clarify how the species diversity of highly dispersible parasites has developed, molecular phylogenetic analyses of Meteterakis spp., multi-host endoparasitic nematodes of reptiles and amphibians from the East Asian islands, were conducted. The results demonstrated the existence of two major clades, the J- and A-groups, with exclusive geographic ranges that are discordant with the host faunal province. However, diversification within the J-group was concordant with the host biogeography and suggested co-divergence of this group with vicariance of the host fauna. In contrast, the phylogenetic pattern within the A-group was discordant with host biogeography and implied diversification by repeated colonization. In addition, the mosaic distribution pattern of a J-group and an A-group species in the Japanese Archipelago, along with comparison of population genetic parameters and the genetic distance from their closest relatives, suggested the initial occurrence of a J-group lineage followed by exclusion in the western part of this region caused by invasion of an A-group lineage. Thus, the present study suggested that the species diversity of highly dispersible parasites including Meteterakis is formed not only by co-divergence with host faunal vicariance but also by peripatric speciation and exclusive interactions between species.


Allopatric speciation; Diversification; East Asian islands; Highly dispersible parasites; Meteterakis; Species diversity

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