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Estimated Molecular Phylogenetic Relationships of Six Siphonostomatoid Families (Copepoda) Symbiotic on Elasmobranchs

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Members of the Siphonostomatoida are associated with either invertebrates or vertebrates. Even though the interfamilial relationships within the Siphonostomatoida are unresolved, it has generally been assumed that those members parasitic on vertebrates form a derived and monophyletic group. Eleven of the families symbiotic on vertebrates have been reported from elasmobranchs. One nuclear genetic marker (18S rDNA) and two partial mitochondrial markers (16S rDNA and COI) were used to estimate the phylogenetic relationship among six families symbiotic on elasmobranchs. The estimated molecular topologies using maximum likelihood, parsimony (unweighted and weighted), and Bayesian analyses are mostly similar. The six families investigated grouped into two major clades, with Kroyeriidae, Caligidae, Pandaridae, and Dichelestiidae in one clade, and Eudactylinidae and Sphyriidae in the other. The molecular topologies are compared with the previous morphological topology and present some support for some of the proposed relationships and alternative hypotheses in the areas of conflict. Valuable information obtained from the study is the indication that the genes used are informative at this level of investigation and can therefore be used in more elaborate future studies. Les membres des Siphonostomatoida sont associés soit à des invertébrés, soit à des vertébrés. Même si les relations interfamiliales à l'intérieur des Siphonostomatoida ne sont pas résolues, il est généralement supposé que les membres parasites de vertébrés forment un groupe dérivé et monophylétique. Onze parmi les familles symbiotes de vertébrés ont été observées sur les Elasmobranches. Un marqueur génétique nucléaire (18S rDNA) et deux marqueurs mitochondriaux (16S rDNA et COI) ont été utilisés pour estimer les relations phylogénétiques entre 6 familles symbiotes d'Elasmobranches. Les topologies moléculaires estimées en utilisant les analyses de maximum de vraisemblance, de parcimonie (non pondérée ou pondérée) et l'analyse bayésienne sont assez similaires. Les six familles étudiées se regroupent en deux clades principaux avec les Kroyeriidae, Caligidae, Pandaridae, et Dichelestiidae dans l'un, et les Eudactylinidae et Sphyriidae dans l'autre. Les topologies moléculaires ont été comparées avec la topologie morphologique existante et fournissent des arguments pour certaines des relations proposées et des hypothèses alternatives pour les régions montrant des conflits. L'information de valeur obtenue grâce à cette étude indique que les gènes utilisés sont informatifs à ce niveau d'investigation et peuvent donc être utilisés à l'avenir dans des études futures, plus élaborées.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biodiversity, School of Molecular and Life Sciences, University of Limpopo, Private Bag X1106, Sovenga 0727, South Africa;, Email:


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