Abstract

Species of Floridosentis (Acanthocephala) are common parasites of mullets (Mugil spp., Mugilidae) found in tropical marine and brackish water in the Americas. Floridosentis includes 2 species distributed in Mexico, i.e., Floridosentis pacifica, restricted to the Pacific Ocean near Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, and Floridosentis mugilis, distributed along the coast of the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. We sampled 18 populations of F. mugilis and F. pacifica (12 from the Pacific and 6 from the Gulf of Mexico) and sequenced a fragment of the rDNA large subunit to evaluate phylogenetic relationships of populations of Floridosentis spp. from Mexico. Species identification of museum specimens of F. mugilis from the Pacific Ocean was confirmed by examination of morphology traits. Phylogenetic trees inferred with maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian inference indicate that Floridosentis is monophyletic comprising of 2 major well-supported clades, the first clade corresponding to F. mugilis from the Gulf of Mexico, and the second to F. pacifica from the Pacific Ocean. Genetic divergence between species ranged from 7.68 to 8.60%. Intraspecific divergence ranged from 0.14 to 0.86% for F. mugilis and from 1.72 to 4.49% for F. pacifica. Data obtained from diagnostic characters indicate that specimens from the Pacific Ocean in Mexico have differences in some traits among locations. These results are consistent with the phylogenetic hypothesis, indicating that F. pacifica is distributed in the Pacific Ocean in Mexico with 3 major lineages.

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