Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 287–292 | Cite as

Molecular evidence for Acanthocephala as a subtaxon of Rotifera

  • James R. Garey
  • Thomas J. Near
  • Michael R. Nonnemacher
  • Steven A. Nadler


Rotifers are free-living animals usually smaller than 1 mm that possess a characteristic wheel organ. Acanthocephalans (thorny-headed worms) are larger endoparasitic animals that use vertebrates and arthropods to complete their life cycle. The taxa Acanthocephala and Rotifera are considered separate phyla, often within the taxon Aschelminthes. We have reexamined the relationship between Rotifera and Acanthocephala using 18S rRNA gene sequences. Our results conclusively show that Acanthocephala is the sister group of the rotifer class Bdelloidea. Rotifera was nonmonophyletic in all molecular analyses, which supports the hypothesis that the Acanthocephala represent a taxon within the phylum Rotifera and not a separate phylum. These results agree with a previous cladistic study of morphological characters.

Key words

Rotifers Acanthocephalans Bdelloidea Lemniscea 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • James R. Garey
    • 1
  • Thomas J. Near
    • 2
  • Michael R. Nonnemacher
    • 1
  • Steven A. Nadler
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesDuquesne UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Center for BiodiversityIllinois Natural History SurveyChampaignUSA
  3. 3.Department of NematologyUniversity of CaliforniaCADavis, DavisUSA

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