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Speciation in the Acugutturidae (Nematoda: Aphelenchida)

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For more content, see Nematologica.

Ectoparasitic nematodes (Acugutturus, Vampyronema and Noctuidonema) of the family Acugutturidae from 13 species of Lepidoptera (moths) and one species of Blattodea (cockroaches) were collected, measured and analysed by discriminant analysis in order to identify conspecifics and to determine which morphological characters were useful in defining differences between nematodes on different host species. The position of the excretory pore posterior to the metacorpus clearly differentiates Acugutturus parasiticus from Noctuidonema and Vampyronema. Two populations of A. parasiticus on Periplaneta americana from the West Indian islands of St Lucia and Guadeloupe are conspecific. Nematodes resembling Vampyronema, collected from two genera of Sphingidae in Guadeloupe are characterised by extremely long stylets, equal to ca 37% of the body length, and may represent a new genus. Noctuidonema from four species of Spodoptera (Noctuidae) are conspecific. However, a somewhat different Noctuidonema from the noctuid Pseudaletia unipuncta may represent a new species, based primarily on its shorter stylet length. Simple spicule structure, a smaller V percentage, and a shorter stylet in Vampyronema are characters that best define its differences from Noctuidonema. Nematodes on the noctuids Anicla infecta and Eulepidotis addens probably represent two new species of Vampyronema. There was no clear differentiation between nematodes on the noctuids Mocis disseverans, M. latipes, Agrapha oxygramma and Orthodes crenulata, and they are all probably conspecific with V.dibolia. Thus far, Noctuidonema has been found only on the trifine noctuids Spodoptera and Pseudaletia, whereas Vampyronema has been found on both trifine and quadrifine noctuids. We found evidence for sequential evolution, but not co-evolution, between these ectoparasitic nematodes and their lepidopteran hosts.


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