High species diversity of fish tapeworms in congeneric hosts in Africa: revision of Monobothrioides (Cestoda: Caryophyllidea), including description of two new species and molecular phylogeny


Molecular and morphological evaluation of tapeworms of the genus Monobothrioides Fuhrmann and Baer, 1925 (Caryophyllidea: Lytocestidae revealed their relatively high species diversity in congeneric catfishes (Siluriformes) of the genera Auchenoglanis Günther (Claroteidae) and Clarias Scopoli (Clariidae). Molecular phylogenetic analyses of newly characterised lsrDNA and ssrDNA sequences distinguished five different lineages corresponding to morphologically well-defined species. In Clarias catfishes, two congeneric species of Monobothrioides occur, whereas as many as four tapeworm species are recognised in claroteid catfishes of the genera Auchenoglanis and Parauchenoglanis Boulenger, including two new to science. Monobothrioides longicollis n. sp. from Auchenoglanis occidentalis (Valenciennes) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Sudan is characterised by a long body (up to 43 mm), with a long neck and vitelline follicles starting at a a long distance anterior to the first testes. Monobothrioides zuheiri n. sp. from A. occidentalis (type host) and A. biscutatus (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire) in the Sudan is characterised by a small (< 15 mm), digitiform body with a scolex indistinctly separated from the body proper, widely oval cirrus-sac and the testes starting much anterior to the first vitelline follicles. Scanning electron micrographs of four species and a morphology-based key to the identification of Monobothrium spp. is also provided.

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Data availability

Molecular data generated during this study consist of lsrDNA and ssrDNA sequences. These sequences are deposited in GenBank; all GenBank accession numbers used in our analysis are also listed invidivually in Table 1.


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Two anonymous reviewers and Mikuláš Oros and Eva Bazsalovicsová (both Institute of Parasitology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Košice, Slovakia) provided helpful suggestions and helped with sequencing, respectively. Research stays of T. S. and M. J. in the Sudan would not have been possible without the invaluable help of Zuheir N. Mahmoud, Ali Adam and Sayed Y. O. Elsheikh (University of Khartoum), Khalid Bashir Abaker and Ammar Osmar (White Nile Fisheries Research Station in Kostí) and Alain de Chambrier (Natural History Museum, Geneva, Switzerland). We would also like to thank the government of the Central African Republic, namely the Ministère de l’Education Nationale, de l’Alphabetisation, de l’Enseignement Superieur and de la Recherche for providing research permits to conduct our work in the Central African Republic; World Wildlife Fund and administration of Dzanga-Sangha Protected Areas for granting research approval and assistance with obtaining permits; the Primate Habituation Programme for providing logistical support in the field. We are greatly indebted to Rod Cassidy and his family for generous help in the field and for allowing M. J. to use facilities of the Sangha Lodge. Thanks go also to Melanie L. J. Stiassny of the Department of Ichthyology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA, for the identification of examined fish from the Congo basin (DRC, CAR) and Radim Blažek of the Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Czech Academy of Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic, for the identification of Auchenoglanis catfishes from the Sudan. Thanks are also due to Martina Borovková and Blanka Škoríková both from the Institute of Parasitology, BC CAS, České Budějovice, for technical help.


The present study was supported by the Czech Science Foundation (projects Nos. P505/12/G112 and 19-28399X) and the Institute of Parasitology, BC CAS (RVO 60077344). We acknowledge the Laboratory of Electron Microscopy, Institute of Parasitology, BC CAS, supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (project No. LM2015062) for their support with obtaining SEM micrographs presented in this paper. Sampling trips to Africa were supported by the National Science Foundation, USA (PBI award Nos. 0818696 and 08188230).

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TS conceived the study for this manuscript with input from KH (biometrical data). TS and MJ collected material. Molecular data were generated and analysed by JB. TS wrote the first draft, and JB and MJ contributed to writing.

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Correspondence to Tomáš Scholz.

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Scholz, T., Brabec, J., Hrubá, K. et al. High species diversity of fish tapeworms in congeneric hosts in Africa: revision of Monobothrioides (Cestoda: Caryophyllidea), including description of two new species and molecular phylogeny. Org Divers Evol 21, 447–466 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13127-021-00492-1

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  • Species diversity
  • Taxonomic revision
  • Molecular phylogeny
  • Cestoda
  • Siluriformes
  • Africa