Abstract

The genus Temnocephala is endemic to the Neotropical region. Temnocephala mexicana and Temnocephala chilensis are the only 2 temnocephalans whose known distribution ranges extend to the south beyond Parallel 40°S. No Temnocephala species has ever been recorded from the extensive area between Parallel 43°S and the southern end of the South American continent, which makes the study of the southern limit of the distribution of the genus a topic of great interest. The southernmost report corresponds to T. chilensis from the Telsen River, Chubut Province, Argentina. In March 2000, several temnocephalans were found on the freshwater anomuran crustacean Aegla neuquensis from the same locality; the specimens were identified as belonging to a new species, which is described here. This species is characterized by possessing an unusually thin-walled, narrow zone that has the appearance of a deep groove connecting the introvert to the shaft of the penial stylet; an introvert with 36 longitudinal rows of spines, each bearing 6–8 spines that are progressively smaller towards the distal end; a distal end of the introvert with a very thin, sclerotized wall without spines; a seminal vesicle that opens sub-polarly into the contractile vesicle; a pair of paranephrocytes at the level of the pharynx and a second pair at the level of the anterior portion of the anterior testes, and eggs with very long stalks. On the basis of their overall morphology, host preference, and geographical distribution, T. chilensis and the new species are closely related, so a diagnostic key for the southern species of Temnocephala is also included. The type locality of the new species is in the southern limit of the known distribution area of T. chilensis, so after this work there are 2 known species marking the southern limit of the distribution of the genus.

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