The Natural History Museum

Jean Mariaux

Adjunct Professor

  • T: +41 22 418 63 43
  • office - (Muséum d'histoire naturelle)

The Natural History Museum of Geneva (MHNG) has always been linked to the University through teaching and research activities. The Museum is the largest in Switzerland and host over 15 million specimens, including 200’000 vertebrates. Presently it is composed of 8 research departments, 5 of them being involved in the study of animal diversity and evolution. Two of them are focused on vertebrates studies, two on arthropods and the last one on the remaining invertebrate groups. An important component of its research is collection based.

Teaching

The Museum scientists are actively involved in various programmes and are teaching at both the Bachelor and the Master level. They are particularly active in the Master Biodiversity and Systematics, and also follow PhD students.

Research

Research at the Museum is very diverse but remains focused on the description of animal diversity and evolution. South East Asia primitive spiders, Swiss Coleoptera, African herpetofauna, passerines from Polynesia or North Atlantic Hydrozoa are just a small selection of the groups presently studied by the Museum scientists.

  • Hymenolepididae (Cestoda, Cyclophyllidea) of ciconiiform and pelecaniform birds: the genera Oschmarinolepis Spassky and Spasskaja, 1954 and Paraoschmarinolepis gen. n. Acta Parasitol. 2017 Sep;62(3):639-651. 10.1515/ap-2017-0078. /j/ap.2017.62.issue-3/ap-2017-0078/ap-2017-0078.xml.

    abstract

    The monotypic genus Oschmarinolepis Spassky and Spasskaja, 1954 (Cestoda, Hymenolepididae) is reviewed. Its validity is confirmed with an updated diagnosis, and its type-species, Oschmarinolepis microcephala (Rudolphi, 1819), is redescribed. The new monotypic genus Paraoschmarinolepis gen n. is erected with Paraoschmarinolepis multiformis (Creplin, 1829) comb. n., as its type-species. The morphology of both type-species, O. microcephala and P. multiformis comb. n. is reviewed on the basis of published data and examination of collection material from Plegadis falcinellus from Ukraine and Ciconia ciconia from Slovakia. We show that some material previously assigned to O. microcephala, belong in fact P. multiformis comb. n.

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  • Description of Acuaria europaea n. sp. (Spirurida: Acuariidae) from Dendrocopos syriacus (Hemprich & Ehrenberg) and Oriolus oriolus (L.) (Aves) in Europe, with results of re-examination of related European species of Acuaria Bremser, 1811. Syst. Parasitol. 2017 Feb;94(2):201-214. 10.1007/s11230-016-9695-z. 10.1007/s11230-016-9695-z.

    abstract

    Acuaria europaea n. sp. is described from one Dendrocopos syriacus (Hemprich & Ehrenberg) (Piciformes: Picidae) (type-host) and three Oriolus oriolus (L.) (Passeriformes: Oriolidae) in Bulgaria (type-locality) and France. The new species is characterised by cordons extending slightly beyond the level of the anterior end of the glandular oesophagus, left spicule 297 µm long, right spicule 155 µm long, protruding vulvar region and strongly ventrally curved female tail. The male (holotype) and the female (allotype) of A. parorioli Chabaud & Petter, 1961 from O. oriolus are regarded as not being conspecific based on the differing morphology of their cordons; the female is identified as A. europaea n. sp. The type-material of Acuaria attenuata (Rudolphi, 1819) is redescribed. The species is characterised by a small and delicate body, cordons extending beyond the oesophago-intestinal junction and similar spicules in size and shape, 140 µm long. The only type-material of Acuaria anthuris (Rudolphi, 1819) available for examination consists of a male and a female (syntypes) from O. oriolus. The two specimens differ from one another by the relative lengths of their cordons and we consider them as belonging to two species. However, both type-specimens differ in their much shorter cordons from the species of Acuaria parasitising Corvidae. The present study reveals that the original description of A. anthuris has been based on heterogeneous material.

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  • The first data on the vitellogenesis of paruterinid tapeworms: an ultrastructural study of Dictyterina cholodkowskii (Cestoda: Cyclophyllidea). Parasitol. Res. 2016 Oct;():. 10.1007/s00436-016-5295-8. 10.1007/s00436-016-5295-8.

    abstract

    The present study provides the first ultrastructural data of the vitellogenesis in a cestode species of the cyclophyllidean family Paruterinidae, aiming to expand the limited data on the vitellogenesis in cyclophyllidean cestodes and to explore the potential of ultrastructural characters associated with vitellogenesis for phylogenetic and taxonomic studies of this order. The process of vitellocyte formation in Dictyterina cholodkowskii follows the general pattern observed in other tapeworms but exhibits several specific differences in the ultrastructure of vitelline cells. The vitellarium contains vitellocytes at various stages of maturation. The periphery of the vitellarium and the space between maturing vitellocytes are occupied by interstitial cells. Differentiation into mature vitellocytes is characterized by high secretory activity, which involves the development of granular endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi complexes, mitochondria and vitelline globules of various sizes. During vitellogenesis, the progressive fusion of these globules results in the formation of two large membrane-limited vitelline vesicles that eventually fuse into a single large vesicle. Mature vitellocytes are composed of a single vitelline vesicle, a high content of cytoplasmic organelles and have no nucleus. No traces of lipid droplets and glycogen granules are detected in the cytoplasm of mature vitellocytes, which might be related to biological peculiarities of this family, i.e. the release of eggs into environment within the tissues of the paruterine organ, which may serve as a source of nutrients for embryos.

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  • Meteterakis saotomensis n. sp. (Nematoda: Heterakidae) from Schistometopum thomense (Bocage) (Gymnophiona: Dermophiidae) on São Tomé Island. Syst. Parasitol. 2015 Oct;92(2):131-9. 10.1007/s11230-015-9588-6. 10.1007/s11230-015-9588-6.

    abstract

    Meteterakis saotomensis n. sp. is described from Schistometopum thomense (Bocage), a gymnophionan endemic to the oceanic island of São Tomé in the Gulf of Guinea. The specimens were assigned to Meteterakis Karve, 1930, based on the possession of a head with three rounded lips, not set-off from the body, the absence of interlabia and cordons, females with a long vagina and males with a preanal sucker, surrounded by a cuticularised rim and caudal alae that are supported by fleshy papillae. The new species is characterised by: body length 4.2-4.5 mm (males) and 5.1-6.4 mm (females); total length of oesophagus, including pharyngeal portion and oesophageal bulb, 820-856 µm (males) and 898-1,070 µm (females); length of pharynx 57-58 µm (males) and 65-68 µm (females); spicules equal, 410-521 µm long, with tessellated ornamentation throughout their length and alae, and with bevelled tip; gubernaculum or 'gubernacular mass' absent; tail length 164-176 µm (males) and 214-239 µm (females), with elongated tip; vulva at 2.3-2.8 mm from anterior end, with anterior lip forming small flap. This is the second species of Meteterakis reported from gymnophionan hosts and the first from the Afrotropical region. Selected comparative morphological data for Meteterakis spp. are presented, and data on host range and geographic distribution are updated. The name M. striaturus Oshmarin & Demshin, 1972 is corrected to M. striatura to reflect the female gender of the genus name.

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  • A large 28S rDNA-based phylogeny confirms the limitations of established morphological characters for classification of proteocephalidean tapeworms (Platyhelminthes, Cestoda). Zookeys 2015 ;(500):25-59. 10.3897/zookeys.500.9360. PMC4432239.

    abstract

    Proteocephalidean tapeworms form a diverse group of parasites currently known from 315 valid species. Most of the diversity of adult proteocephalideans can be found in freshwater fishes (predominantly catfishes), a large proportion infects reptiles, but only a few infect amphibians, and a single species has been found to parasitize possums. Although they have a cosmopolitan distribution, a large proportion of taxa are exclusively found in South America. We analyzed the largest proteocephalidean cestode molecular dataset to date comprising more than 100 species (30 new), including representatives from 54 genera (80%) and all subfamilies, thus significantly improving upon previous works to develop a molecular phylogeny for the group. The Old World origin of proteocephalideans is confirmed, with their more recent expansion in South America. The earliest diverging lineages are composed of Acanthotaeniinae and Gangesiinae but most of the presently recognized subfamilies (and genera) appear not to be monophyletic; a deep systematic reorganization of the order is thus needed and the present subfamilial system should be abandoned. The main characters on which the classical systematics of the group has been built, such as scolex morphology or relative position of genital organs in relation to the longitudinal musculature, are of limited value, as demonstrated by the very weak support for morphologically-defined subfamilies. However, new characters, such as the pattern of uterus development, relative ovary size, and egg structure have been identified, which may be useful in defining phylogenetically well-supported subgroups. A strongly supported lineage infecting various snakes from a wide geographical distribution was found. Although several improvements over previous works regarding phylogenetic resolution and taxon coverage were achieved in this study, the major polytomy in our tree, composed largely of siluriform parasites from the Neotropics, remained unresolved and possibly reflects a rapid radiation. The genus Spasskyellina Freze, 1965 is resurrected for three species of Monticellia bearing spinitriches on the margins of their suckers.

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  • Genetic diversity of avian haemosporidians in Malaysia: cytochrome b lineages of the genera Plasmodium and Haemoproteus (Haemosporida) from Selangor. Infect. Genet. Evol. 2015 Apr;31():33-9. S1567-1348(15)00008-8. 10.1016/j.meegid.2015.01.004.

    abstract

    The knowledge of the diversity of haemosporidian parasites is of primary importance as their representatives include agents of bird malaria. We investigated the occurrence of Haemoproteus spp. and Plasmodium spp. in bird populations from a single locality in the State of Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia, and report on the parasite prevalence of the two genera. A combination of methods (molecular and morphological) was used for detecting these parasites. Seventy-nine bird individuals were caught using mist-nets in July and August 2010 at Gombak Field Station of the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. In total, 23 birds were identified as positive for Haemoproteus or Plasmodium infection and one individual was recognized as carrying mixed infection. The total prevalence of haemosporidians in the collected samples was 30.3%. Infections with parasites of the genus Haemoproteus were predominant compared to those of the genus Plasmodium. In total, 10 new cyt b lineages of Haemoproteus spp. and 3 new cyt b lineages of Plasmodium spp. were recorded in this study. From all recorded haemosporidian lineages (16 in total), 3 were known from previous studies - hCOLL2, hYWT2 and pNILSUN1. Two of them are linked with their corresponding morphospecies - Haemoproteus pallidus (COLL2) and Haemoproteus motacillae (YWT2). The morphological analysis in the present study confirmed the results obtained by the PCR method relative to prevalence, with 25.3% total prevalence of Haemoproteus and Plasmodium parasites. The intensities of infection varied between 0.01% and 19%. Most infections were light, with intensities below 0.1%. The present study is the first molecular survey of the protozoan blood parasites of the order Haemosporida recorded in Malaysia.

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  • Stammerinema hyalinum n. comb. for Filaria hyalina von Linstow, 1890 and its recognition as a senior synonym of Stammerinema rhopalocephalum (Sołtys, 1952) (Spirurida: Acuariidae), a parasite of shrews. Syst. Parasitol. 2015 Jan;90(1):105-11. 10.1007/s11230-014-9540-1.

    abstract

    Based on a re-examination of type-specimens of Filaria hyalina von Linstow, 1890 from Sorex araneus L. (Mammalia: Soricidae) and morphological studies (light and scanning electron microscopy) of specimens collected from the same host species in Bulgaria and previously identified as Stammerinema rhopalocephalum (Sołtys, 1952), both these forms are considered to be conspecific. Accordingly, F. hyalina is transferred to the genus Stammerinema Osche, 1955 as Stammerinema hyalinum n. comb. and the species originally described as Synhimantus rhopalocephalus Sołtys, 1952 is considered its junior synonym.

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  • Two new and two redescribed species of Anonchotaenia (Cestoda: Paruterinidae) from South American birds. Folia Parasitol. 2014 Oct;61(5):441-61.

    abstract

    Morphological examination of novel specimens of paruterinid cestodes from passerine birds from Brazil and Chile and of museum specimens from Paraguay revealed two new species: Anonchotaenia prolixa sp. n. from Elaenia albiceps chilensis Hellmayr from Chile, and Anonchotaenia vaslata sp. n. from Tyrannus melancholicus (Vieillot) (type host) and Myiodynastes maculatus (Statius Muller) from Paraguay. The generic diagnosis of Anonchotaenia Conn, 1900 is amended, prompted by the presence of the armed cirrus and the elongated cirrus sac of A. prolixa. Two species were redescribed: Anonchotaenia brasiliensis Fuhrmann, 1908 from Tachyphonus coronatus (Vieillot) and Thraupis cyanoptera (Vieillot) (new host records) from Brazil, and Thraupis sayaca (Linnaeus) and Volatinia jacarina (Linnaeus) from Paraguay (new host and geographic records); and Anonchotaenia macrocephala Fuhrmann, 1908 from Tachycineta leucorrhoa (Vieillot) (new host record) from Brazil, Tachycineta meyeni (Cabanis) from Chile (new host and geographic record) and Stelgidopteryx ruficollis (Vieillot) from Paraguay (new host and geographic record). Scanning electron microscopy of A. brasiliensis and A. macrocephala revealed less microthrix variation than has been reported for other cyclophyllidean taxa. Sequence data were generated for nuclear ssr- and lsr-DNA and mitochondrial rrnL and cox1 for A. prolixa, A. brasiliensis, and A. macrocephala. Maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference analyses supported each species as distinct, but revealed cryptic diversity among A. brasiliensis specimens from different host families. New host records of A. brasiliensis and A. macrocephala prompted a formal assessment of host specificity. Anonchotaenia prolixa was found to be oioxenous (HS(S) = 0), A. vaslata and A. macrocephala were found to be metastenoxenous (HS(S) = 3.000 and 3.302, respectively), whereas A. brasiliensis was found to be euryxenous (HS(S) = 5.876). Anonchotaenia brasiliensis has been found parasitising several species of different passerine families that participate in mixed-species foraging flocks in the Atlantic Forest. A diversity of species of other families join these flocks and are among the substantial number of South American passerine species yet to be examined for cestodes.

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  • Description of Proyseria petterae n. sp., with an amended generic diagnosis and a review of the species of Proyseria Petter, 1959 and Stegophorus Wehr, 1934 (Nematoda: Acuariidae). Syst. Parasitol. 2014 Sep;89(1):3-14. 10.1007/s11230-014-9507-2.

    abstract

    Proyseria decora (Dujardin, 1845) (the type-species of the genus Proyseria Petter, 1959) is redescribed on the basis of specimens from Alcedo atthis (L.) (Coraciiformes: Alcedinidae) from Iran. P. petterae n. sp. is described from Corythornis vintsioides (Eydoux & Gervais) (Alcedinidae) from Madagascar by light and scanning electron microscopy. Proyseria sp. from Alcedo euryzona Temminck from continental Malaysia is described on the basis of a single male specimen. Stegophorus alcedonis Puqin, Yanyin & Guocal, 1991 from A. atthis in China is transferred to the genus Proyseria as P. alcedonis n. comb. The generic diagnosis of Proyseria is amended. Review of the species of the genera Proyseria and Stegophorus Wehr, 1934 is presented.

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  • Two new species of Quasithelazia Maplestone, 1932 (Nematoda: Acuariidae) from Malaysia, with an amended diagnosis and review of the genus. Syst. Parasitol. 2014 Jun;88(2):103-17. 10.1007/s11230-014-9483-6.

    abstract

    Quazithelazia rostrata n. sp. from Ceyx erithaca (L.) (type-host) and Alcedo euryzona Temminck (Coraciiformes, Alcedinidae) and Q. alata n. sp. from Enicurus ruficapillus Temminck (Passeriformes, Muscicapidae) are described from vicinities of Gombak Biological Station, Selangor, Malaysia; both species are parasitic under the koilin lining of the gizzard. Paratypes of Schistogendra pelargopsis Nandi, De & Majumdar, 1985, a parasite of Pelargopsis capensis (L.) (Alcedinidae) from India, are redescribed and the species is recognised as a junior synonym of the type-species of Quasithelazia, Q. tenuis Maplestone, 1932 (new synonymy), a species originally described from Halcyon smyrnensis (L.) (Alcedinidae) in India. An amended diagnosis of the genus Quasithelazia Maplestone, 1932 is proposed. Currently, this genus includes eight species occurring in the Old World, six of them parasitic in kingfishers (Alcedinidae) and two species parasitic in flycatchers (Muscicapidae). These include, inter alia, Q. halcyoni n. comb. for Viktorocara halcyoni Ryzhikov & Khokhlova, 1964 from Halcyon smyrnensis and H. pileata (Boddaert) in Vietnam and the Russian Far East, Q. microcordonis n. comb. for Rusguniella microcordonis Schmidt & Kuntz, 1971 from Halcyon coromanda major (Temminck & Schlegel) in Taiwan and Q. multipapillata n. comb. for Schistogendra multipapillata Zhang, 1993 from Tarsiger cyanurus (Pallas) (Muscicapidae) in China. Comparative morphological data for Quasithelazia spp. are presented. Schistogendra oligopapillata Zhang & An, 2002 from domestic ducks in China is considered a species incertae sedis.

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  • Pseudangularia gonzalezi n. sp. and Gibsonilepis swifti (Singh, 1952) n. g., n. comb. (Cestoda, Dilepididae) from the House Swift, Apus affinis (J.E. Gray) (Aves, Apodiformes) from Franceville, Republic of Gabon. Syst. Parasitol. 2013 Nov;86(3):215-33. 10.1007/s11230-013-9445-4.

    abstract

    Nine specimens of Apus affinis (J.E. Gray) were studied at Franceville, Haut-Ogooué Province, Republic of Gabon, for the presence of helminth parasites. Two cestode species of the family Dilepididae were recorded. Pseudangularia gonzalezi n. sp. is distinguished from the most similar species P. europaea Georgiev & Murai, 1993 by having elliptical cirrus-sac, longer vagina, longer rostellar sheath and greater diameter of suckers. An identification key to the species of the genus Pseudangularia Burt, 1938 is proposed. The present study is the first record of the genus Pseudangularia in the Afrotropical Region. Our study confirms that, in dilepidids with vaginal sclerites from swifts, breaking off the cirrus after copulation is a frequent phenomenon. The genus Gibsonilepis n. g. is erected as monotypic for Vitta swifti Singh, 1952 (originally described from the same host species in India) and Gibsonilepis swifti n. comb. is proposed. Gibsonilepis n. g. is distinguished from Vitta Burt, 1938 by its highly elongate rostellum, rostellar sheath much bigger than rostellum, relatively small rostellar hooks possessing strongly developed guard, disc-shaped suckers with weak peripheral musculature and flat or convex central part, long and well-expressed neck, highly lobed two-winged ovary (lobes rounded) and presence of a band consisting of rows of spine-like microtriches along posterior margin of each proglottis. This is the first record of G. swifti in the Afrotropical Region. The separation of G. swifti from the genus Vitta (parasites of swallows) suggests that, contrary to previous opinions, no dilepidid genera are shared by Apodidae (swifts) and Hirundinidae (swallows).

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  • First data on the genetic diversity of avian haemosporidians in China: cytochrome b lineages of the genera Plasmodium and Haemoproteus (Haemosporida) from Gansu Province. Parasitol. Res. 2013 Oct;112(10):3509-15. 10.1007/s00436-013-3533-x.

    abstract

    A total of 76 birds belonging to 23 species and 14 families was examined for the presence of Plasmodium spp. and Haemoproteus spp. Birds were trapped at four localities in Gansu Province, China, in June-July 2011. DNA was isolated from blood samples and parasite detection, and identification was based on PCR assays and sequences of 479 bp of cyt b gene. The total prevalence of haemosporidians was 21.0%. Haemoproteus spp. were detected in 14 birds (prevalence 18.4%). The lineage CYAPIC1 from Cyanopica cyanus, Parus major, Passer montanus and Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax was new; it is genetically distinct and probably represents a new species of the genus Haemoproteus. Three lineages represented known species: RBS4 (from Lanius tephronotus), a lineage of Haemoproteus lanii; COLL2 (from Turdus mupinensis), a lineage of Haemoproteus pallidus and TURDUS2 (from Turdus rubrocanus), a lineage of Haemoproteus minutus. The lineage RBS5 (from Lanius cristatus and L. tephronotus) differs by 1.4% from RBS4 and probably represents an intraspecific entity of H. lanii. The lineages TUCHR1 (recorded from T. mupinensis), WW1 (recorded from Upupa epops) and YWT2 (recorded from Motacilla flava) have not been linked to any known species for the moment. Only one bird was positive for Plasmodium (prevalence 1.4%), i.e. P. major infected with the lineage GRW4 of Plasmodium relictum. The latter lineage has been considered by previous studies as typical for migratory birds and having transmission in tropical areas only; its record in a sedentary bird in China suggests its transmission in temperate latitudes.

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  • A new genus of the family Hymenolepididae (Cestoda) from Sephanoides sephaniodes (Apodiformes, Trochilidae) in Northern Patagonia (Chile). Acta Parasitol. 2013 Mar;58(1):105-11. 10.2478/s11686-013-0117-y.

    abstract

    A new species of hymenolepidid cestodes from Sephanoides sephaniodes (Trochilidae) found in Chile is described. The most characteristic features of Colibrilepis pusilla gen. nov., sp. nov. are the lack of rostellum, a cirrus sac with a thick-walled distal end (separated by a constriction) and protruding into genital atrium, a thick-walled saccular uterus filling entire median field of the gravid proglottis and the small number of eggs containing thick walled embryophores with polar swellings. Staphylepis is the most similar genus but differs in its apical structure because of the presence of a rudimentary rostellum. Moreover, molecular phylogenetic analyses show that Staphylepis and Colibrilepis are not sister taxa.

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  • Cucolepis cincta gen.n. et sp.n. (Cestoda: Cyclophyllidea) from the squirrel cuckoo Piaya cayana lesson (Aves: Cuculiformes) from Paraguay. Folia Parasitol. 2012 Dec;59(4):287-94.

    abstract

    Cucolepis gen. n. is erected as monotypic for Cucolepis cincta sp. n., a new species of cyclophyllidean cestode of the family Paruterinidae. The new species is described from the squirrel cuckoo, Piaya cayana Lesson (Aves: Cuculiformes), taken from two localities in Paraguay in 1984 and 1985. This new genus is most similar to the genus Triaenorhina Spasskii et Shumilo, 1965 in terms of the hook morphology and large epiphyseal structures extending from both the handle and guard, but differs in several aspects of the strobilar morphology, such as the shape of the cirrus sac, genital atrium, uterus and paruterine organ. The strobilar morphology of the new genus strongly resembles that of the genus Francobona Georgiev et Kornyushin, 1994, especially the shape of the cirrus sac and genital atrium, yet Francobona spp. lack, the developed epiphyseal structures observed in species of Cucolepis and Triaenorhina. Previous records and the nature of parasite-host associations between cuculiform birds and their cestode parasites are discussed.

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  • The "Rhampholeon uluguruensis complex" (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae) and the taxonomic status of the pygmy chameleons in Tanzania. Zootaxa 2013 ;3746():439-53. zootaxa.3746.3.3.

    abstract

    The specific status of several pygmy chameleons endemic to mountain massifs in the Eastern Arc Mountains, Tanzania has long been controversial due to their lack of distinctive morphological characters. In this work we extend our previous sampling of Rieppeleon and Rhampholeon species, especially from the Rhampoleon moyeri/Rhampholeon uluguruensis complex, and add data from a new mitochondrial marker to address this problem. Our results show that there is geographical structure between populations of pygmy chameleons from different mountains. This structure is especially well defined for Rhampholeon (Rhinodigitum). Phylogenetic analyses confirm that both Rh. uluguruensis Tilbury and Emmrich, 1995 and Rh. moyeri Menegon, Salvidio and Tilbury, 2002 are distinct lineages, the former from the Uluguru Mountains and the latter from the Udzungwa Mountains. However, the paratype material used to erect Rh. moyeri belongs to a separate lineage from the holotype. Similarly, a number of additional lineages within the Rh. moyeri/Rh. uluguruensis complex recovered in the analysis may deserve specific status. At present, there is a lack of morphological characters that can be used to distinguish these lineages, suggesting that there are multiple cryptic taxa in this complex. 

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  • Revision of Gangesia (Cestoda: Proteocephalidea) in the Indomalayan region: morphology, molecules and surface ultrastructure. PLoS ONE 2012 ;7(10):e46421. 10.1371/journal.pone.0046421. PONE-D-12-18329. PMC3463618.

    abstract

    Tapeworms of Gangesia Woodland, 1924 (Cestoda: Proteocephalidea) parasitic in freshwater fishes in the Indomalayan Region were critically reviewed. Evaluation of type specimens and newly collected materials from Bangladesh, Cambodia and India, as well as critical examination of extensive literature have shown that only the following four species, instead of 48 nominal species of Gangesia and Silurotaenia Nybelin, 1942 reported from this region (36 new synonymies proposed), are valid: Gangesia bengalensis (Southwell, 1913), type-species of the genus and most common parasite of Wallago attu (Siluridae), G. macrones Woodland, 1924 typical of Sperata seenghala (Bagridae), both species characterized by the possession of two circles of hooks on the rostellum-like organ and several rows of hooklets on the anterior margins of suckers; G. agraensis Verma, 1928 from W. attu (typical host), which has the scolex with only one circle of hooks and 1-3 incomplete rows of tiny hooklets on the suckers; and G. vachai (Gupta and Parmar, 1988) n. comb. from several catfishes, which possesses 4-6 circles of hooks and 5-11 rows of hooklets on the anterior half of suckers. Scolex morphology, including surface ultrastructure (microtriches), of all but one species (G. vachai) is described for the first time using scanning electron microscopy. A phylogenetic analysis based on the partial sequences encoding the large nuclear ribosomal subunit RNA gene has shown that three Indomalayan species, namely G. bengalensis, G. macrones and G. vachai, form a monophyletic group within Gangesia, whereas G. agraensis tends to form a clade with the Palaearctic species of the genus. A table with differential characters of all species from the Indomalayan Region is also provided together with a key to identification of genera of the subfamily Gangesiinae. The present study demonstrates that species of Silurotaenia do not occur in the Indomalayan region.

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  • Spermiogenesis and spermatozoon ultrastructure of the paruterinid cestode Notopentorchis sp. (Cyclophyllidea). Parasitol. Res. 2012 Jul;111(1):135-42. 10.1007/s00436-011-2809-2.

    abstract

    Ultrastructural characters of the spermiogenesis and mature spermatozoon of Notopentorchis sp. (Cestoda, Cyclophyllidea, Paruterinidae), a parasite from Apus affinis (Aves, Apodiformes, Apodidae) from Gabon, are described by means of transmission electron microscopy. Cytochemical analysis for detection of glycogen was applied. Vestigial striated roots associated with the two centrioles are present in the zone of differentiation. The spermiogenesis is characterized by an external growth of free flagellum followed by a proximodistal fusion of the latter with cytoplasmic protrusion, thus, corresponding to the cestode spermiogenesis of the type III pattern described by Bâ and Marchand (Mem. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat. 166:87-95, 1995). In the final stage of spermiogenesis, a single crested body appears at the base of the forming spermatozoon. The mature spermatozoon of Notopentorchis sp. is filiform and tapering at both extremities. It consists of five regions differing in their ultrastructural characteristics. The anterior extremity of the mature spermatozoon is characterized by the presence of an apical cone and a single crested body. The cytoplasm contains one axoneme of 9 + "1" type of the trepaxonematan Platyhelminthes, a periaxonemal sheath, a layer of twisted cortical microtubules, transverse intracytoplasmic walls, and granules of glycogen. The nucleus is coiled in spiral around the axoneme. The posterior extremity of the spermatozoon is characterized by the presence of electron-dense material. This structural organization corresponds to the morphology of cestode spermatozoon of type VII as defined by Levron et al. (Biol Rev 85: 523-543, 2010). The comparison of the results with those of the two previous studies on paruterinids suggests that several characters of the spermiogenesis and the mature spermatozoon are invariable, i.e. the type III spermiogenesis and the presence of vestigial striated roots, a single crested body, a periaxonemal sheath, and intracytoplasmic walls. The main differences of the sperm cells among members of this family are the lack of dense granules (as in Triaenorhina rectangula) and the presence of electron-dense material in the posterior extremity of the spermatozoon (as in Notopentorchis sp.).

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  • Acuaria paraguayensis n. sp. from Sirystes sibilator (Aves: Tyrannidae) in Paraguay and a redescription of A. mamillaris (Molin, 1860) from Cyanocorax cayanus (Corvidae) in Brazil, with a key to the species of Acuaria Bremser, 1811 (Nematoda: Acuariidae) in the New World. Syst. Parasitol. 2012 Jan;81(1):51-64. 10.1007/s11230-011-9322-y.

    abstract

    Acuaria paraguayensis n. sp. is described on the basis of specimens from Sirystes sibilator (Vieillot) (Aves: Passeriformes, Tyrannidae) in Paraguay. In addition, A. mamillaris (Molin, 1860) from Cyanocorax cayanus (L.) (Corvidae) in Brazil is redescribed on the basis of its type-series from the collection of the Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna. A review of the species of Acuaria Bremser, 1811 in the New World is presented. Currently, 16 species belong to this genus, which are mostly parasitic in passeriform birds (one record in piciform birds). An identification key to the species of Acuaria occurring in the New World is presented. Acuaria multispinosa (Vigueras, 1938) originally described from Botaurus lentiginosus (Rackett) (Ardeidae) in Cuba, also known from various herons (Ciconiiformes, Ardeidae) in southern states of the USA, does not correspond to the generic diagnosis of Acuaria and is considered a species incertae sedis. Acuaria gracilis var. sturni Boyd, 1951 is elevated to full species rank as Acuaria sturni Boyd, 1951.

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  • Redescription of Corallobothrium solidum (Cestoda: Proteocephalidea) and erection of a new genus, Essexiella, for tapeworms from channel catfishes (Ictaluridae). J. Parasitol. 2011 Dec;97(6):1142-51. 10.1645/GE-2705.1.

    abstract

    The proteocephalidean tapeworm, Corallobothrium solidum, type species of the genus, is redescribed on the basis of the examination of its type specimens and extensive material recently collected from Malapterurus electricus (type host). Some morphological characteristics of taxonomic importance are reported for the first time, such as the presence of semispherical (U-shaped) sphincters on the external (outer) margin of the suckers, a vaginal sphincter, a well-developed seminal receptacle, and a unique morphology of the eggs. Corallobothrium solidum differs from the 2 remaining species of the genus, both parasitic in channel catfishes (Ictaluridae), in its scolex shape, morphology of its suckers, presence of longitudinal and transverse grooves on the body surface, dense network of excretory canals in the apical part of the scolex, morphology of the eggs, and uterine development. The non-monophyletic nature of Corallobothrium is further supported by molecular data (partial sequences of the 28S rRNA gene) because C. solidum and the 2 remaining species from ictalurids do not form a monophyletic assemblage. Therefore, Essexiella n. gen. is proposed to accommodate Essexiella fimbriatum new comb. (type and only species; syn. Corallobothrium fimbriatum) from channel catfish. Essexiella n. gen. differs from Corallobothrium, Megathylacoides, and Megathylacus by the absence of a sphincter in the suckers, from Corallotaenia by the shape of the scolex and the number and shape of proglottids, and from Paraproteocephalus by the structure of the uterus. The diagnosis of Corallobothrium, which becomes monotypic and restricted to electric catfishes in Africa, is emended. The remaining species of Corallobothrium, Corallobothrium parafimbriatum, is tentatively transferred to Corallotaenia as Corallotaenia parafimbriata n. comb., based on molecular data, small size of the strobila, and shape of the scolex.

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  • Redescription of Testudotaenia testudo (Magath, 1924) (Eucestoda: Proteocephalidea), a parasite of Apalone spinifera (Le Sueur) (Reptilia: Trionychidae) and Amia calva L. (Pisces: Amiidae) in North America and erection of the Testudotaeniinae n. subfam. Syst. Parasitol. 2009 May;73(1):49-64. 10.1007/s11230-009-9178-6.

    abstract

    Testudotaenia testudo (Magath, 1924) is redescribed from the intestine of the softshell turtle Apalone spinifera (Le Sueur) (Trionychidae) and the bowfin Amia calva Linnaeus (Amiidae) from Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee, United States. A new subfamily, the Testudotaeniinae, is erected. The new taxon differs from all proteocephalidean subfamilies in the position of the genital organs in relation to the longitudinal internal musculature, i.e. the testes are cortical, rarely medullary; the ovary is partly medullary, with cortical lobes; the vitelline follicles are mainly medullary, with some follicles in the cortex; and the uterus is cortical. A key to the subfamilies of the order Proteocephalidea Mola, 1928 is provided. The most characteristic features of T. testudo are the precocious uterine aperture, the presence of internal uterine pores (as previously described for Proteocephalus paraguayensis (Rudin, 1917)), the eggs laid unripe, the very long strobila (up to 970 mm), and the presence of an anterior circular musculature in the suckers, which is considered as a good differential character. Three other species were found in Amia calva: Proteocephalus perplexus La Rue, 1911, P. ambloplitis (Leidy, 1887) and a new, undescribed form. Sequences of the partial nuclear 28S rRNA gene of specimens of T. testudo from Apalone spinulifera and Amia calva confirm the conspecificity of samples from these two very distinct hosts, which may represent a capture phenomenon. As the subfamily Adenobrechmoinae Bursey, Goldberg & Kraus, 2006 and the genus Adenobrechmos Bursey, Goldberg & Kraus, 2006 are based on the presence of an apical organ, a character which reflects a rather common convergence, we consider the Adenobrechmoinae to be a junior synonym of the Proteocephalinae La Rue, 1911 and Adenobrechmos a junior synonym of Ophiotaenia La Rue, 1911. Adenobrechmos greeri Bursey, Goldberg & Kraus, 2006 thus becomes Ophiotaenia greeri (Bursey, Goldberg & Kraus, 2006) n. comb.

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  • A new genus and species of proteocephalidean (Cestoda) from Clarias catfishes (Siluriformes: Clariidae) in Africa. J. Parasitol. 2009 Feb;95(1):160-8. GE-1594. 10.1645/GE-1594.1.

    abstract

    A new proteocephalidean cestode is described from 2 catfishes, Clarias gariepinus (type host) and C. cf. anguillaris (Siluriformes: Clariidae), from Ethiopia (type locality), Sudan, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, and a new genus, Barsonella, is proposed to accommodate it. The genus belongs to the Proteocephalinae because its genital organs (testes, ovary, vitellarium, and uterus) are situated in the medulla. Barsonella lafoni, the type and only species of the new genus, is characterized mainly by the possession of an additional opening of each sucker; circular musculature on the anterior margin of suckers, serving as a sphincter; a small thin-walled glandular apical organ; absence of well-developed osmoregulatory canals in mature, pregravid, and gravid proglottids; and a large strobila, up to 173 mm long and 3.2 mm wide. Species of Marsypocephalus Wedl, 1861 (Marsypocephalinae), other large-sized proteocephalidean tapeworms occurring sympatrically in African catfishes (Clarias and Heterobranchus) and also possessing a sphincter-like, circular musculature on the anterior part of suckers, differ from B. lafoni in the absence of an additional sucker opening and glandular apical organ, the cortical position of the testes, well-developed osmoregulatory canals throughout the strobila, and a large cirrus sac. Proteocephalus glanduligerus (Janicki, 1928), another cestode parasitic in Clarias spp. in Africa, is much smaller than B. lafoni (maximum length 15 mm), has suckers without additional opening and circular musculature on the suckers, a large-sized glandular organ, much larger than suckers, and well-developed osmoregulatory canals. Comparison of partial sequences of the 28S rRNA gene for 7 samples of B. lafoni from 2 different hosts and 4 localities in Ethiopia, Sudan, and Tanzania has shown a very low genetic variability. In a limited phylogenetic analysis, B. lafoni formed a clade with Corallobothrium solidum Fritsch, 1886 (Proteocephalidae: Corallobothriinae), an African electric catfish parasite. This clade was the sister group of almost all Neotropical taxa from pimelodid and other catfishes.

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  • Sandonella sandoni (Lynsdale, 1960), an enigmatic and morphologically unique cestode parasitic in the osteoglossiform fish Heterotis niloticus in Africa. J. Parasitol. 2008 Feb;94(1):202-11. 10.1645/GE-1275.1.

    abstract

    Sandonella sandoni (Lynsdale, 1960) is the type and only species of the Sandonellinae, a cestode subfamily of unclear phylogenetic position. It is redescribed here on the basis of a re-examination of its syntypes, voucher specimens from museum collections, and freshly collected material from the intestine of Heterotis niloticus (Osteoglossiformes: Arapaimidae) from Benin, Nigeria, Senegal, and the Sudan. The species possesses several unique morphological characters, such as (1) a vitellarium formed by 2 compact, but deeply lobulated, postovarian masses near the posterior margin of proglottids; (2) a scolex with a highly modified apical structure formed by 4 muscular retractile lappets; (3) a well-developed circular musculature, which is external to the inner longitudinal muscles; (4) a dilated, vesicle-like proximal part of the external sperm duct; (5) the unique morphology of the uterus and its development, which represents an intermediate form between the 2 basic types recognized in the Proteocephalidea; (6) the growth of eggs during their development within the uterus; and (7) the complex proglottization with intermingled smaller and larger (wider) proglottids. The morphology of S. sandoni, including the form and distribution of microtriches, was studied by scanning electron microscopy for the first time, and the lectotype and paralectotypes of S. sandoni are designated. Sequences of the 28S rRNA gene of 4 specimens (2 from the Sudan and 2 from Senegal) were identical, which confirms conspecificity of geographically distant samples. Sandonella sandoni sequences have also shown that it actually belongs among the Proteocephalidea, being a sister taxon of a relatively derived clade of Palaearctic proteocephalideans, containing Glanitaenia osculata and Paraproteocephalus parasiluri from catfish and Palaearctic species of the Proteocephalus aggregate.

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  • Redescriptions of Monopylidium exiguum (Dujardin, 1845) and M. albani (Mettrick, 1958) n. comb. (Cestoda: Dilepididae) from European passerine birds. Syst. Parasitol. 2007 Oct;68(2):87-96. 10.1007/s11230-007-9103-9.

    abstract

    Two species of Monopylidium Fuhrmann, 1899 are redescribed on the basis of specimens from their type-hosts: M. exiguum (Dujardin, 1845) from Troglodytes troglodytes L. (Passeriformes: Troglodytidae) on the Curonian Spit, Kaliningradskaya Oblast', Russia, and M. albani (Mettrick, 1958) n. comb. (originally Paricterotaenia albani Mettrick, 1958) from Sturnus vulgaris L. (Passeriformes: Sturnidae) in the Canton of Jura, Switzerland. In contrast to the previously proposed synonymy of these two species (Spasskaya & Spasskii, 1977), they are recognised as distinct and M. albani is revalidated.

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  • The evolution of the Proteocephalidea (Platyhelminthes, Eucestoda) based on an enlarged molecular phylogeny, with comments on their uterine development. Syst. Parasitol. 2004 Mar;57(3):159-71. 10.1023/B:SYPA.0000019083.26876.34. 5255859.

    abstract

    We present a molecular phylogeny of the Proteocephalidea based on 28S rDNA sequence data that is a follow-up to the paper by Zehnder & Mariaux (1999). Twenty-three new sequences, including three outgroups are added in our new data-set. The Gangesiinae Mola, 1929 and the Acanthotaeniinae Freze, 1963 appear to be the most primitive clades. They are followed by a robust clade comprising the Palaearctic Proteocephalinae Mola, 1929 from freshwater fishes. The structure of the more derived clades, comprising most Neotropical and Nearctic species, is less resolved. At the nomenclatural level, we erect a new genus, Glanitaenia n. g. for G. osculata (Goeze, 1782) n. comb., previously Proteocephalus osculatus, and define an aggregate for the Palaearctic Proteocephalus Weinland, 1858. After a re-examination of all of the studied taxa, we identify two types of uterine development and show the importance of this character for the systematics of the order. Our phylogeny does not support the classical view of a Neotropical origin for the Proteocephalidea but rather favours an Old World origin of the group either in saurians or Palaearctic Siluriformes.

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  • A new tapeworm, Postgangesia inarmata n. sp. (Eucestoda: Proteocephalidea: Gangesiinae), parasitic in Silurus glanis (Siluriformes) from Iraq and some comments on the Gangesiinae Mola, 1929. Syst. Parasitol. 2003 Jul;55(3):199-209. 5120668.

    abstract

    We describe a new species of cestode belonging to Postgangesia Akhmerov, 1969 (Proteocephalidea: Gangesiinae) from the catfish Silurus glanis Linnaeus in Iraq. This is the second species known from this genus, and a redescription of the type-species, P. orientalis Akhmerov, 1969 (emend.), as well as a differential diagnosis are provided. The new species is characterised by the arrangement of its vitelline follicles, and various meristic and metrical characters. The systematic position of Postgangesia is discussed on the basis of both scolex and strobilar characters and arguments are presented for its placement within the Gangesiinae together with Electrotaenia Nybelin,1942, Gangesia Woodland,1924, Silurotaenia Nybelin, 1942 and Vermaia Nybelin, 1942. Finally, we illustrate and discuss some particular structures found in these taxa, especially in relation to the apical organs of the scolex.

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  • Polystomatidae (Monogenea) of African Anura: Polystoma dawiekoki n. sp. parasitic in Ptychadena anchietae (Bocage). Syst. Parasitol. 2002 May;52(1):35-41.

    abstract

    Polystoma dawiekoki n. sp. is described as a new species of the Polystomatidae parasitic in the urinary bladder of the plain grass frog Ptychadena anchietae. This parasite was collected at Mkuze town and Mkuze Game Reserve in northern Kwazulu-Natal Province, in the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa, and at Bulwa in Tanga Province, East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania. It is distinguished from other African Polystoma species by a combination of characters, including the body size, size and shape of marginal hooklets and the haptor length to body length ratio. The presence of adult, as well as subadult, parasites in the same individuals, as is known for Eupolystoma, represents a significant evolutionary departure from the pattern of transmission typical of Polystoma in most of the other anuran hosts.

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