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Molecular phylogenetic analysis of Neodiplostomum and Fibricola (Digenea, Diplostomidae) does not support host-based systematics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 January 2022

Tyler J. Achatz
Department of Biology, University of North Dakota, Starcher Hall, 10 Cornell Street Stop 9019, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58202, USA Department of Natural Sciences, Middle Georgia State University, Macon, Georgia 31206, USA
Eric E. Pulis
Department of Science and Mathematics, Northern State University, Aberdeen, South Dakota 57401, USA
Ethan T. Woodyard
Department of Pathobiology and Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi 39762, USA
Thomas G. Rosser
Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi 39762, USA
Jakson R. Martens
Department of Biology, University of North Dakota, Starcher Hall, 10 Cornell Street Stop 9019, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58202, USA
Sara B. Weinstein
School of Biological Sciences, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112, USA
Alan Fecchio
Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia e Conservação da Biodiversidade, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso, Cuiabá, Mato Grosso 78060900, Brazil
Chris T. McAllister
Science and Mathematics Division, Eastern Oklahoma State College, Idabel, Oklahoma 74745, USA
Carlos Carrión Bonilla
Museo de Zoología, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador
Vasyl V. Tkach*
Department of Biology, University of North Dakota, Starcher Hall, 10 Cornell Street Stop 9019, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58202, USA
Author for correspondence: Vasyl Tkach, E-mail:


Fibricola and Neodiplostomum are diplostomid genera with very similar morphology that are currently separated based on their definitive hosts. Fibricola spp. are normally found in mammals, while Neodiplostomum spp. typically parasitize birds. Previously, no DNA sequence data was available for any member of Fibricola. We generated nuclear ribosomal and mtDNA sequences of Fibricola cratera (type-species), Fibricola lucidum and 6 species of Neodiplostomum. DNA sequences were used to examine phylogenetic interrelationships among Fibricola and Neodiplostomum and re-evaluate their systematics. Molecular phylogenies and morphological study suggest that Fibricola should be considered a junior synonym of Neodiplostomum. Therefore, we synonymize the two genera and transfer all members of Fibricola into Neodiplostomum. Specimens morphologically identified as Neodiplostomum cratera belonged to 3 distinct phylogenetic clades based on mitochondrial data. One of those clades also included sequences of specimens identified morphologically as Neodiplostomum lucidum. Further study is necessary to resolve the situation regarding the morphology of N. cratera. Our results demonstrated that some DNA sequences of N. americanum available in GenBank originate from misidentified Neodiplostomum banghami. Molecular phylogentic data revealed at least 2 independent host-switching events between avian and mammalian hosts in the evolutionary history of Neodiplostomum; however, the directionality of these host-switching events remains unclear.

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Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

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