Gulf Coast Research Laboratory
Haploporinae subfamily

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Subfamily Haploporinae
Brooks, D. R. - Department of Zoology, Univ. of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 3G5, Ca
"Thanks to the phylogenetic systematics revolution, systematic parasitology is poised to make significant contributions in tropical medicine and public health, biodiversity science, and evolutionary biology. At the same time, the taxonomic impediment is acute within parasitology. Both systematists and non-systematists must be interested in working towards common goals and establishing collaborative efforts in order to re-vitalize and re-populate systematic parasitology."

The Haploporinae Nicoll, 1914, one of the four currently recognised suprageneric taxa within the Haploporidae Nicoll, 1914 [1], is a group of poorly known digeneans which parasitise marine or brackish water mugilid fishes (Mugilidae). Looss [2] erected the majority of its genera (i.e. Haploporus Looss, 1902, Dicrogaster Looss, 1902, Lecithobotrys Looss, 1902 and Saccocoelium Looss, 1902) for a few species which he described from Mediterranean mullets. His descriptions and generic diagnoses were brief and based on a small number of specimens; this has resulted in subsequent misleading identifications and synonymies leading to an underestimation of the diversity of Mediterranean haploporines.

Research Efforts in Haploporinae at GCRL

Haploporines are united by the presence of a prepharynx being distinct, a vitellarium composed of one or two coalesced or compact groups of follicles near or lateral to the ovary, and a uterus that fills much of the hindbody and reaches up to the level of the hermaphroditic sac (Overstreet and Curran, 2005). Most members have relatively small, thin-shelled, operculate eggs, with the more developed eggs containing miracidia with either one or two distinct eye-spots. In their generic framework of the haploporines, Overstreet and Curran (2005) recognized the genera Haploporus Looss, 1902, Saccocoelium Looss, 1902, Lecithobotrys Looss, 1902, Dicrogaster Looss, 1902, Unisaccus Martin, 1973, Forticulcita Overstreet, 1982, and Rondotrema Thatcher, 1999. Blaso-Costa et al. (2009c) also added Ragaia Blaso-Coasta, Montero, Gibson, Balbuena and Kostadinova, 2009, and Pseudodicrogaster Blaso-Costa, Montero, Gibson, Balbuena and Kostadinova, 2009 to accommodate Dicrogaster japonica Machida, 1996 in their treatment of Mediterranean Sea haploporines. Thus currently nine genera are listed in the Haploporinae, comprising approximately 40 species.

Because of some of the difficulties described above, the taxonomy of most haploporines has been confusing. A cosmopolitan distribution of some hosts, varied fixation techniques leading to some poor descriptions, several undescribed new species, and difficulties in the proper identification of most mullet species are all factors that contributed to the taxonomic problems. Despite a major re-working of the family by Overstreet and Curran (2005) and a morphological and molecular revision of Mediterranean Sea haploporines by Blasco-Costa et al. (2010), the subfamily needs further attention.


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Change Date 13 November 2011


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