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Testudinema gilchristi n. gen., n. sp. (Nematoda: Monhysteridae) from the perianal folds of stinkpot turtles, Sternotherus odoratus (Testudines), USA

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For more content, see Nematologica.

Examination of perianal folds of stinkpot turtles, Sternotherus odoratus, from Virginia, USA, revealed several monhysterid nematodes. The general morphological characteristics of this population, such as circular amphids, unstriated cuticle under light microscope, single outstretched ovary, single testis, caudal glands, terminal spinneret and the absence of an apophysis on the gubernaculum, with the exception of the position of the gonad in relation to the intestine, shows the affinity of this population to the Monhysteridae. Microscopic observations of the inner stoma show three (one dorsal and two ventro-sublateral) buccal wall extensions towards the lumen and numerous (ca 50) distinct denticles on its wall. Because this stoma structure is a morphological novelty within the Monhysterida and this is the first monhysterid group associated with perianal folds of turtles, we propose to establish Testudinema n. gen. within the Monhysteridae to accommodate this morphologically distinct population. We provide a detailed comparison with known monhysterid genera including those that possess a cup-shaped stoma, stoma with denticles or those genera reported to be commensals (Gammarinema, Monhystrium, Tripylium, Odontobius). Stinkpot turtles feed on benthic fauna and may acquire these commensals when the sediment is disturbed. The denticles and structure of the buccal cavity could be morphological adaptations for transition to ecto-parasitism.

Affiliations: 1: 1Department of Biology, Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, NC 27909, USA; 2: 2University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78249, USA; 3: 3CIIDIR-IPN, Unidad Sinaloa, Mex. 81101, Mexico; 4: 4Department of Biology, Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA


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