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Morphological description and molecular analyses of Tylodelphys sp. (Trematoda: Diplostomidae) newly recorded from the freshwater fish Gobiomorphus cotidianus (common bully) in New Zealand

  • I. Blasco-Costa (a1), R. Poulin (a2) and B. Presswell (a2)

Among eyeflukes, Tylodelphys Diesing, 1850 includes diverse species able to infect the eyes, but also the brain, pericardial sac and body cavity of their second intermediate host. While the genus shows a cosmopolitan distribution with 29 nominal species in Africa, Asia, Europe and America, a likely lower research effort has produced two records only for all of Australasia. This study provides the first description of a species of Tylodelphys and the first record for a member of the Diplostomidae in New Zealand. Tylodephys sp. metacercaria from the eyes of Gobiomorphus cotidianus McDowall, 1975 is distinguished from its congeners as being larger in all, or nearly all, metrics than Tylodelphys clavata (von Nordmann, 1832), T. conifera (Mehlis, 1846) and T. scheuringi (Hughes, 1929); whereas T. podicipina Kozicka & Niewiadomska, 1960 is larger in body size, ventral sucker and holdfast sizes and T. ophthalmi (Pandey, 1970) has comparatively a very small pharynx and body spination. Tylodelphys sp. exhibits consistent genetic variation for the 28S rDNA, internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and Cox1 genes, and phylogenetic analyses confirm that it represents an independent lineage, closely related to North American species. Morphological and molecular results together support the distinct species status of Tylodephys sp. metacercaria, the formal description and naming of which await discovery of the adult. Furthermore, the validity of T. strigicola Odening, 1962 is restored, T. cerebralis Chakrabarti, 1968 is proposed as major synonym of T. ophthalmi, and species described solely on the basis of metacercariae are considered incertae sedis, except those for which molecular data already exist.

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