ABSTRACT

Adults of a species of Cryptocotyle were found infecting the intestine of the kelp gull, Larus dominicanus Lichtenstein, 1823, and metacercariae were found in the fins and muscle of the galaxiid fish, Galaxias platei Steindachner, 1898 (local name “puyen grande”), in Nahuel Huapi National Park (Patagonia). Morphometrics and genetic markers of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase (COI) and ribosomal internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) confirmed that adults and metacercariae were conspecific and represent a new species, Cryptocotyle dominicana n. sp. The only congener known from South America (Cryptocotyle thapari McIntosh, 1953) matures in river otters (Lutra spp. and Pteronura spp.) in Brazil and Bolivia and differs from the new species in the arrangement of the testes, which are located in tandem in the species from otters. Adults of the new species resemble Cryptocotyle lingua (Creplin, 1825) Fischoeder, 1903 from marine environments of the Northern Hemisphere, both species being characterized by having a linguiform body, oblique testes, and vitelline follicles that extend posteriorly to the level of the ventral sucker. Considering the morphological findings that differentiate the new species from other Cryptocotyle, as well as the molecular analysis that shows significant differences from C. lingua, we conclude that these specimens represent a new species, the first of the genus Cryptocotyle to be described from birds in South America.

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