Rotifera VIII: A Comparative Approach

Volume 134 of the series Developments in Hydrobiology pp 83-91

Review paper: The evolutionary relationships of rotifers and acanthocephalans

  • James R. GareyAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, University of South Florida
  • , Andreas Schmidt-RhaesaAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, University of South Florida
  • , Thomas J. NearAffiliated withCenter for Biodiversity, Illinois Natural History Survey
  • , Steven A. NadlerAffiliated withDepartment of Nematology, University of California

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Advances in morphological and molecular studies of metazoan evolution have led to a better understanding of the relationships among Rotifera (Monogononta, Bdelloidea, Seisonidea) and Acanthocephala, and their relationships to other bilateral animals. The most accepted morphological analysis places Acanthocephala as a sister group to Rotifera, although other studies have placed Acanthocephala as a sister taxon to Bdellodea or Seisonidea. Molecular analyses using nuclear 18S rRNA and mitochondrial 16S rRNA genes support Acanthocephala as a sister taxon to Bdelloidea, although no molecular data is available for Seisonidea. Combining molecular and morphological analyses of Bilateria leads to a tree with Platyhelminthes, Rotifera, Acanthocephala and Gnathostomulida (and probably Gastrotricha) as a sister group to the annelid-mollusc lineage of the Spiralia (Lophotrochozoa).

Key words

phylogeny acanthocephala rotifera bilateria evolution 18S rRNA gene