Levisunguissubaequalis n. g., n. sp., a tongue worm (Pentastomida: Porocephalida: Sebekidae) infecting softshell turtles, Apalone spp. (Testudines: Trionychidae) in the southeastern United States
A new tongue worm (Pentastomida) belonging to the Sebekidae Sambon, 1922 (Porocephaloidea Sambon, 1922) is described based on exemplars collected from softshell terrapins Apalone spinifera aspera (Agassiz) and Apalone ferox (Schneider) in the southeastern United States; a new genus is erected to accommodate the new species. The new species belongs in the Sebekidae because adults possess four simple hooks arranged in a trapezoid pattern on the ventral surface of the cephalothorax, a mouth opening between the anterior and posterior pairs of hooks, a terminal anus, an elongated uterus with preanal uterine pore, and a Y-shaped seminal vesicle. Nymphs possess geminate hooks, and the new species has an aquatic life-cycle in which nymphs become encapsulated in the body cavity of a freshwater fish and mature in the lungs of a terrapin. The new genus is distinct from other genera in the Sebekidae primarily by differences in hook morphology and the fact that representatives use a terrapin as a definitive host. Nymphs infecting fish and presumed to be the new species matured as postlarval juveniles conspecific with the new species when they were fed to the eastern mud turtle, Kinosternon subrubrum (Lacépède). Nymphs of the new species are anatomically similar to but larger than nymphs of Sebekia mississippiensis Overstreet, Self & Vliet, 1985 found in the mesentery of fishes captured in Florida, U.S.A. Adults of the new species differ from those of S. mississippiensis based on hook features, chloride cell pore pattern on annuli, body size, and use of a turtle rather than crocodilian definitive host. The new species is the third North American member of the Sebekidae.
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