Systematic Parasitology

, Volume 74, Issue 3, pp 199–217 | Cite as

Anisakis nascettii n. sp. (Nematoda: Anisakidae) from beaked whales of the southern hemisphere: morphological description, genetic relationships between congeners and ecological data

  • Simonetta Mattiucci
  • Michela Paoletti
  • Stephen C. Webb


A new anisakid nematode, Anisakis nascettii n. sp., is described from beaked whales Mesoplodon spp. off the coast of New Zealand and South Africa. Morphological and molecular (allozymes and mtDNA cox2 sequence) data were used for diagnostic and identification purposes. Among the 19 allozymes studied, 10 were found to be unique and characteristic for A. nascettii n. sp. Analysis of allozymes demonstrated reproductive isolation from A. ziphidarum Paggi, Nascetti, Webb, Mattiucci, Cianchi & Bullini, 1998 and mtDNA cox2 sequences depict this Anisakis species as a distinct and unique entity. Key morphological diagnostic traits for A. nascettii with respect to the genetically closely related species A. ziphidarum include: spicule length, the spicule/body length ratio, the arrangement of the caudal papillae and the shape of the plectanes of the adult males. Genetic data confirmed that Anisakis sp. A of Pontes et al. (2005), which was partly described by Iglesias et al. (2008), and Anisakis sp. of Valentini et al. (2006) are conspecific with A. nascettii. Both molecular and morphological data indicate that the new species belongs to the ‘ziphidarum-group’; however, it is genetically very distinct from A. ziphidarum (DNei = 0.69, K2P = 0.09), as well as from all of the previously genetically characterised Anisakis spp. All tree topologies inferred by different methods (MP, NJ and Bayesian) support the finding that A. nascettii n. sp. and A. ziphidarum are sister-species. It is also confirmed that A. nascettii n. sp. is, at the adult stage, a parasite of beaked whales of the genus Mesoplodon, whereas, as a larva, it has been identified from the squid Moroteuthis ingens Smith. Furthermore, Mesoplodon bowdoini Andrews represents a new host record for A. ziphidarum. The parallelism between the clade formed by these two anisakine taxa, i.e. A. ziphidarum and A. nascettii, and that formed by their definitive hosts further supports the hypothesis of host–parasite co-evolutionary relationships, as previously suggested for Anisakis spp. and their cetacean hosts.



The authors are very grateful to Mr T. Leung (Otago University, New Zealand), Mr Mike Morrissey (Department of Conservation, Kaikoura, New Zealand) and Dr Peter Best (South African Museum, Cape Town, South Africa) for providing samples used in this study. We wish to thank two anonymous referees, whose remarks and suggestions were useful in improving the manuscript. The research was partly supported by grants from the I Faculty of Medicine of the ‘Sapienza-University of Rome’.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simonetta Mattiucci
    • 1
  • Michela Paoletti
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stephen C. Webb
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Public Health Sciences (DSSP), Section of Parasitology‘Sapienza—University of Rome’RomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Sustainable Economic Development (DECOS)Tuscia UniversityViterboItaly
  3. 3.Cawthron InstituteNelsonNew Zealand

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