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Eye to eye: classification of conjunctival sac polystomes (Monogenea: Polystomatidae) revisited with the description of three new genera Apaloneotrema n. g., Aussietrema n. g. and Fornixtrema n. g.

Abstract : Polystomes (Monogenea: Polystomatidae) of freshwater turtles are currently represented by five genera, namely Neopolystoma, Polystomoides, Polystomoidella, Uropolystomoides and Uteropolystomoides. These parasites can infect the urinary, oral and/or the conjunctival sac systems of their hosts, showing strict site specificity. A recent phylogenetic study showed that the two most diverse genera within chelonian polystomes, i.e. Neopolystoma and Polystomoides, are not monophyletic. Furthermore, polystomes infecting the conjunctival sacs of their host, except for one species, formed a robust lineage. A fusiform egg shape has been reported for conjunctival sac polystomes and it was assumed that this characteristic could be a good character for the systematics of polystomes. Our objective in the present work was, therefore, to study more in depth the morphology of polystomes collected from the conjunctival sacs of chelonians to find characters defining a putative new genus. To achieve this objective, more specimens were collected in 2018 and 2019 from turtles sampled in North Carolina and Florida (USA) to extend taxon sampling for the phylogenetic analysis. Morphological characters of relevant polystome specimens were re-examined from several collections from Asia, Australia, Europe, South Africa, South America and North America. Based on a Bayesian tree inferred from the analysis of four concatenated genes, namely 12S, 18S, 28S and COI, polystomes found in the conjunctival sacs were grouped in three distinct lineages, the first one including a single species infecting an Australian pleurodire turtle; the second one including eleven species infecting cryptodire turtles of South America, North America and Asia; and the last one including a single species infecting a softshell cryptodire turtle of North America. Based on observations of live specimens by Dr. Sylvie Pichelin and our morphological analysis, the conjunctival sac polystomes from Australian turtles are small, cannot extend their body significantly, have a spherical ovary and egg, have a large genital bulb and possess latero-ventral vaginae at the level of the testis. Based on observations of live specimens and morphological analysis of whole mounted specimens, polystomes of the second lineage share the following morphological characteristics: the ability to stretch out and double their length, a long oval ovary, a separate egg-cell-maturation-chamber, fusiform to diamond-shaped eggs with acute tips, small genital bulb and vaginae peripheral on the side of the body at the level of the testis. The polystome species of the third lineage occupies a basal position, has the ability to stretch out and possess an elongated ovary, a large fusiform egg with rounded tips, a small genital bulb and small latero-ventral vaginae at the level of the ovary. These three distinct conjunctival sac polystome lineages are herein described as separate new genera, Aussietrema, Fornixtrema and Apaloneotrema, respectively.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, September 8, 2021 - 5:39:01 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, September 9, 2021 - 3:23:40 AM

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Louis Du Preez, Olivier Verneau. Eye to eye: classification of conjunctival sac polystomes (Monogenea: Polystomatidae) revisited with the description of three new genera Apaloneotrema n. g., Aussietrema n. g. and Fornixtrema n. g.. Parasitology Research, Springer Verlag (Germany), 2020, 119 (12), pp.4017-4031. ⟨10.1007/s00436-020-06888-w⟩. ⟨hal-03338572⟩

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