||A molecular analysis of the phylogenetic position of the suborder Cavernicola within the Tricladida (Platyhelminthes), with the description of a new species of stygobiont flatworm from Benin
HARRATH ABDEL HALIM ,
MANSOUR LAMJED ,
LAGNIKA Moïssou ,
SLUYS RONALD ,
BOUTIN CLAUDE ,
ALWASEL SALEH ,
POCH ARNAU ,
RIUTORT MARTA ,
||Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society
||This paper presents a new species of cavernicolan planarian from the African continent, which enabled us to determine the position of the suborder Cavernicola within the order Tricladida on a molecular basis. A recent paper suggested a sister-group relationship between Cavernicola and marine triclads. However, our work is the first molecular study to demonstrate unequivocally that the Cavernicola does not group with either the freshwater planarians or the land planarians, i.e. is not closely related to the suborder Continenticola, and
corroborates the suggested sister-group relationship with the marine triclads or Maricola. Two possible scenarios are proposed for the evolution of the Cavernicola from marine ancestors. The new species is assigned to the genus Novomitchellia and is characterized by the absence of eyes. Testicular follicles are numerous and only dorsal, extending from behind the ovaries to the posterior end of the body. The vasa deferentia separately penetrate the penis bulb and the seminal vesicle. The penis papilla is very short and blunt, and the penis bulb musculature is weak. A long and narrow copulatory bursa is situated behind the gonopore. The common oviduct is orientated perpendicularly to the short bursal canal.
||Dimarcusidae – evolution – freshwater flatworm – molecular phylogentics –
molecular taxonomy – Novomitchellia – subterranean diversity.
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