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Description of Ektaphelenchus berbericus n. sp. (Rhabditida: Ektaphelenchinae) from eastern Iran

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Ektaphelenchus berbericus n. sp. was recovered from soil samples collected in eastern Iran and is described and illustrated based on morphological, morphometric and molecular data. The new species is characterised by having female body 512-691 μm long, lip region separated from rest of body by a shallow depression, lips separated and equally sized, 19-22 μm long stylet with wide lumen and lacking knobs or swellings at its base, cuticle with fine, but distinct transverse annuli and three lines in lateral field, excretory pore located at base of metacorpus (with slight variation in position), reproductive system monodelphic-prodelphic with spheroid and fine sperm cells inside spermatheca in some individuals and short post-vulval uterine sac (PUS), rectum and anus vestigial (invisible in few individuals), conical posterior body end (tail), narrowing at mid-point between anus and rounded tail tip, and males lacking. The new species is typologically similar to species belonging to four genera: Devibursaphelenchus, Ektaphelenchoides, Ektaphelenchus and Seinura, by a combination of morphological characters, e.g., gross morphology of stylet (lacking knobs or swellings at base), morphology of posterior body end (having short conical tail), PUS length, and having a vestigial anus and rectum in most individuals. In molecular phylogenetic analyses using sequences of the partial small subunit of the ribosomal RNA gene (SSU) and the D2-D3 expansion segments of the large subunit (LSU) ribosomal RNA gene, the new species is close to the Ektaphelenchoides/Cryptaphelenchus clade in an inferred SSU tree, and formed a clade with Ektaphelenchoides and Devibursaphelenchus spp. in a D2-D3 LSU tree. Further phylogenetic analyses using full length sequences of the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) (= ITS1 + 5.8S + ITS2) corroborated results from the SSU and D2-D3 LSU trees, and the multilocus analyses using the combined SSU and LSU data placed the new species in a robustly supported clade with Ektaphelenchoides poinari and Devibursaphelenchus lini.

Affiliations: 1: 1Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran ; 2: 2Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, University of Florida/IFAS, 3205 College Avenue, Davie, FL 33314, USA ; 3: 3Department of Plant Pathology, Faculty of Agriculture, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

*Corresponding author, e-mail:;

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