Apolocystis bosanqueti n. sp., a parasite of an important invasive earthworm in North America, Amynthas agrestis, is described from a site in northern Vermont. The earthworm host follows an annual life cycle in Vermont, so the entire life cycle of the parasite can be observed in 7 mo. In spring, the parasites were first seen in juvenile worms as paired gamonts (suggesting precocious association). These paired gamonts mature into gametocytes that form an opaque structure, with a thick gelatinous envelope (epicyst), that becomes full of zygotes. The resulting gametocyst becomes packed with ∼105 fusiform oocysts. The mature orbicular gametocysts are large (∼1 mm in diameter) and visible to the naked eye through the body wall of the host's anterior segments. The new species most resembles Apolocystis herculea described from many lumbricid earthworm species in Europe but differs from that parasite because Ap. herculea infects the intestinal wall in the posterior of the host rather than the anterior segments. A survey of 9 other earthworm species sympatric with Am. agrestis revealed that only Amynthas tokioensis, also an invasive species, was infected with Ap. bosanqueti, albeit much less commonly. Diagnosis for the family Monocystidae is problematic because cardinal characters are lacking, and the commonly cited character, a trophozoite with no anterior differentiation, is violated in most genera placed in the family. For the first time, a molecular phylogeny is presented that includes 3 genera of monocystids with diverse cell morphology (including the new species) and supports the monophyly of the family. The only morphological character that may be used to diagnose the Monocystidae is the morphology of oocysts, which are fusiform with extended terminal tips. A comparison of oocysts from 7 parasites recovered from local earthworms, including from 3 monocystid species in the phylogeny, confirms the utility of this diagnostic trait. The 2 hosts of the new species were most likely introduced from Japan, so the range of Apolocystis likely extends into East Asia.

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