Robinia aurata n. g., n. sp. (Digenea: Hemiuridae) from the mugilid Liza aurata with a molecular confirmation of its position within the Hemiuroidea

a1 Central Laboratory of General Ecology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 2 Gagarin Street, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria
a2 Department of Zoology, Natural History Museum, London SW7 5BD, UK
a3 Marine Zoology Unit, Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, University of Valencia, PO Box 22 085, 46071 Valencia, Spain

Article author query
pankov p   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
webster bl   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
blasco-costa i   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
gibson di   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
littlewood dt   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
balbuena ja   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
kostadinova a   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Robinia aurata n. g., n. sp. is described from Liza aurata (Mugilidae), the golden grey mullet, from the Ebro Delta, Spanish Mediterranean. The new genus differs from all other hemiurid genera in the combined possession of muscular flanges and a vestigial ecsoma. Within the Bunocotylinae, which currently accommodates 2 genera, Bunocotyle and Saturnius, the new genus exhibits a unique combination of blind caeca, Juel's organ, post-ovarian bulk of the uterus in the hind-body, and tegumental papillae surrounding the oral and ventral sucker apertures. Furthermore, Robinia n. g. differs from both Bunocotyle and Saturnius in the nature of the muscular extensions around the oral sucker, with the shape of a muscular belt in the latter and numerous muscular papillae in the former. The phylogenetic hypothesis for the Bunocotylinae developed from sequence data analyses based on partial lsrDNA and complete ssrDNA combined (22 species) and V4 domain of the ssrRNA gene (37 species) supports the erection of the new genus and confirms its position within the Hemiuroidea. Both molecular analyses confirmed the monophyly of the Hemiuroidea, its division into 2 major clades and the polyphyly of the Derogenidae, as in previous studies, and suggest that the Gonocercinae (with 2 genera, Gonocerca and Hemipera), may require a distinct familial status. Finally, there was poor support for the distinct status of the Lecithasteridae and Hemiuridae, following previous suggestions based on different sequence data sets. A key to genera of the Bunocotylinae is presented.

(Received January 9 2006)
(Revised February 19 2006)
(Accepted February 20 2006)
(Published Online April 20 2006)

Key Words: Hemiuroidea; Hemiuridae; Bunocotylinae; Robinia aurata n. g., n. sp.; Liza aurata; Mediterranean; lsrDNA; ssrDNA; morphology; phylogeny.

c1 Department of Biodiversity, Central Laboratory of General Ecology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 2 Gagarin Street, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria. Tel: +3592 8705108. Fax: +3592 8705 498. E-mail: