Morphological identification of tapeworm species at larval stages (procercoids and cysticercoids) is often difficult because few diagnostic characters are available. In the present study, a molecular approach (sequencing of partial 18S rDNA gene) was used to evaluate the genetic similarity between adult specimens of Cyathocephalus truncatus (Pallas, 1871) (Cestoda: Spathebothriidea) found in fish, its definitive host, and procercoids of the same species recovered from amphipod, Echinogammarus stammeri (Karaman, 1931). Furthermore, cestode cysticercoids of uncertain species were found in the amphipod's hemocoel. The sequences obtained from adults and procercoids were identical, and even very similar to those of C. truncatus available in GenBank, whereas the sequences obtained from cysticercoids differed significantly from those of adults and procercoids, indicating that these larvae belong to another species; later it was demonstrated that they were cysticercoids of Microsomacanthus pachycephala (Linstow, 1972), a cestode of the Hymenolepididae (Cyclophyllidea). The results of this investigation show that the comparison of nucleotide sequence data may avoid misclassification of developmental stages of parasites, which use the same intermediate host.

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