Morphology, Ciliary Pattern and Molecular Phylogeny of Trachelophyllum brachypharynx Levander, 1894 (Litostomatea, Haptoria, Spathidiida)
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We isolated a relatively unknown haptorian ciliate, Trachelophyllum brachypharynx, in brackish water from the mouth of the Taehwa River, South Korea. The morphology of this isolate was studied using in vivo observation and protargol impregnation, and its evolutionary history was revealed by phylogenetic analysis of the 18S rRNA gene. The main features of T. brachypharynx include (i) a very narrowly fusiform and slightly contractile body about 380 × 40 μm in size; (ii) two ellipsoidal macronuclear nodules typically connected by a fine strand; (iii) a single terminal contractile vacuole; (iv) filiform extrusomes that are typically 30 µm long; (v) an average of 24 ciliary rows, with two of them anteriorly differentiated into an isostichad dikinetidal dorsal brush; and (vi) hat-shaped lepidosomes. Based on the 18S rRNA gene phylogeny, T. brachypharynx clustered together with Trachelophyllum sp. within the order Spathidiida. Furthermore, phylogenetic trees and networks indicate some members from the genera Enchelyodon and Spathidium as the nearest relatives of trachelophyllids. Therefore, based on the present molecular and comparative-morphological analyses, we suggested a hypothesis explaining how trachelophyllids may have evolved from a spathidiid-like ancestor via an enchelyodonid-like stage.
18 - 09 - 2015
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