Systematic Parasitology

, Volume 95, Issue 5, pp 465–478 | Cite as

The first complete mitochondrial genome of a parasitic isopod supports Epicaridea Latreille, 1825 as a suborder and reveals the less conservative genome of isopods

  • Jialu Yu
  • Jianmei An
  • Yue Li
  • Christopher B. Boyko
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Arthropoda


The complete mitochondrial genome sequence of the holoparasitic isopod Gyge ovalis (Shiino, 1939) has been determined. The mitogenome is 14,268 bp in length and contains 34 genes: 13 protein-coding genes, two ribosomal RNA, 19 tRNA and a control region. Three tRNA genes (trnE, trnI and trnS1) are missing. Most of the tRNA genes show secondary structures which derive from the usual cloverleaf pattern except for trnC which is characterised by the loss of the DHU-arm. Compared to the isopod ground pattern and Eurydice pulchra Leach, 1815 (suborder Cymothoida Wägele, 1989), the genome of G. ovalis shows few differences, with changes only around the control region. However, the genome of G. ovalis is very different from that of non-cymothoidan isopods and reveals that the gene order evolution in isopods is less conservative compared to other crustaceans. Phylogenic trees were constructed using maxiumum likelihood and Bayesian inference analyses based on 13 protein-coding genes. The results do not support the placement of G. ovalis with E. pulchra and Bathynomus sp. in the same suborder; rather, G. ovalis appears to have a closer relationship to Ligia oceanica (Linnaeus, 1767), but this result suggests a need for more data and further analysis. Nevertheless, these results cast doubt that Epicaridea Latreille, 1825 can be placed as an infraorder within the suborder Cymothoida, and Epicaridea appears to also deserve subordinal rank. Further development of robust phylogenetic relationships across Isopoda Latreille, 1817 will require more genetic data from a greater diversity of taxa belonging to all isopod suborders.



Our thanks to two anonymous reviewers whose comments greatly improved the manuscript.


This study was supported by the National Science Foundation of China (No. 31471970) and Fund Program for the Scientific Activities of Selected Returned Overseas Professionals in Shanxi Province (2016).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable institutional, national and international guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jialu Yu
    • 1
  • Jianmei An
    • 1
  • Yue Li
    • 1
  • Christopher B. Boyko
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Life ScienceShanxi Normal UniversityLinfenPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Division of Invertebrate ZoologyAmerican Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkUSA

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