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Folia Parasitol (Praha). 2009 Jun;56(2):107-28.

Five new species of Acanthobothrium (Cestoda: Tetraphyllidea) from an unusual species of Himantura (Rajiformes: Dasyatidae) from northern Australia.

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Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, Unit 3043, 75 N. Eagleville Rd., Storrs, Connecticut 06269-3043, USA.


Five new species of Acanthobothrium van Beneden, 1850 from the spiral intestine of a specimen of an unusual species of Himantura from the Arafura Sea off northern Australia are described. Acanthobothrium oceanharvestae sp. n. is one of 26 category 1 species (sensu Ghoshroy and Caira 2001) lacking post-ovarian testes; it differs from these in total length, number of proglottids, number of testes, cirrus sac size and details of the terminal genitalia. Acanthobothrium popi sp. n. is unique among category 2 species in its possession of post-ovarian testes. Acanthobothrium rodmani sp. n. is a category 6 species distinct from all congeners in the dense blade-like spinitriches on the distal surfaces of its anterior-most bothridial loculi and conspicuously tapered posterior bothridial margins, which are reflexed anteriorly. Acanthobothrium romanowi sp. n. differs from most other category 1 species in that its genital pore is distinctly posterior. It differs from the remaining category 1 species in size, testis number, cephalic peduncle microthrix form, proglottid shape, and bothridial loculus dimensions. Acanthobothrium zimmeri sp. n. is among the six category 1 species with post-ovarian testes. It differs from these species in total length, ovary shape, number of proglottids and testes and vas deferens extent. This brings the number of Acanthobothrium species with post-ovarian testes to 10, all of which are Indo-Pacific in distribution, and 7 of which parasitize Himantura species. A key to the five new species parasitizing Himantura sp. is provided. Sequence data for the D1-D3 region of 28S rDNA for the five new species and two congeners parasitizing other Himantura species shows no intraspecific variation. Analysis of these and comparable data for two species available in GenBank (Acanthobothrium parviuncinatum and Acanthobothrium sp. 1) showed an interspecific variation of 0.7-11.3% among species pairs. Bayesian, Likelihood and Parsimony phylogenetic analyses of these data for these nine species indicate that the five new species parasitizing Himantura sp. are generally not each others' closest relatives.

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