Systematic Parasitology

, Volume 74, Issue 1, pp 65–74 | Cite as

The crustacean parasites Ellobiopsis Caullery, 1910 and Thalassomyces Niezabitowski, 1913 form a monophyletic divergent clade within the Alveolata

  • Fernando Gómez
  • Purificación López-García
  • Antoine Nowaczyk
  • David Moreira


The Ellobiopsidae are enigmatic parasites of crustaceans that have been grouped together exclusively on the basis of morphological similarities. Ultrastructural studies have revealed their affiliation within the alveolates, which was confirmed by the phylogenetic analysis of the ribosomal RNA gene (SSU rDNA) sequences of two species of Thalassomyces Niezabitowski, 1913. However, their precise systematic position within this group remains unresolved, since they could not be definitively allied with any particular alveolate group. To better determine the systematic position of ellobiopsids by molecular phylogeny, we sequenced the SSU rDNA from the type-species of the Ellobiopsidae, Ellobiopsis chattoni Caullery, 1910. We found E. chattoni infecting various copepod hosts, Acartia clausi Giesbrecht, Centropages typicus Kröyer and Clausocalanus sp., in the Bay of Marseille, NW Mediterranean Sea, which allowed us to study several stages of the parasite development. A single unicellular multinucleate specimen provided two different sequences of the SSU rDNA gene, indicating the existence of polymorphism at this locus within single individuals. Ellobiopsis Caullery, 1910 and Thalassomyces formed a very divergent and well-supported clade in phylogenetic analyses. This clade appears to be more closely related to the dinoflagellates (including the Syndiniales/Marine Alveolate Group II and the Dinokaryota) and Marine Alveolate Group I than to the other alveolates (Ciliophora, Perkinsozoa and Apicomplexa).


Copepod Species Accession EF539153 Infected Copepod Parasitic Dinoflagellate Hematodinium 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This is a contribution to the project DIVERPLAN-MED supported by a post-doctoral grant to F.G. of the Ministerio Español de Educación y Ciencia No. 2007-0213. P.L.G. and D.M. acknowledge financial support from the French CNRS and the ANR Biodiversity project ‘Aquaparadox’. This is a part of SOMLIT (Service d’Observation en Milieu LITtoral) national grid.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernando Gómez
    • 1
  • Purificación López-García
    • 2
  • Antoine Nowaczyk
    • 3
  • David Moreira
    • 2
  1. 1.Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls sur MerUniversité Pierre et Marie Curie, CNRS-INSU UMR 7621Banyuls sur MerFrance
  2. 2.Unité d’Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution, CNRS UMR 8079Université Paris-SudOrsay CedexFrance
  3. 3.Laboratoire d’Océanographie Physique et de BiogéochimieCNRS UMR 6535, Aix-Marseille II UniversitéMarseilleFrance

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