Members of the family Cyathocotylidae (Platyhelminthes: Trematoda) parasitize the intestines of reptiles (including birds), mammals and fishes around the world. Little is known about the interrelationships of cyathocotylid genera, and few molecular phylogenetic works included DNA sequences from adult cyathocotylids. This is particularly true in the case of cyathocotylids from snakes. Gogatea and Szidatia are the most diverse genera of cyathocotylids parasitic in snakes. Gogatea spp. have only been reported in the Indomalayan realm, while Szidatia spp. are more widely distributed in the Afrotropic, Indomayan and Palearctic realms. No members of these genera have been reported so far in Australia. Prior authors have debated the status of these genera, which were differentiated based on a single morphological feature, namely the confluent vs non-confluent vitellarium. At the same time, it was shown in literature that vitellarium may appear confluent or non-confluent depending on the fixation method. Currently, DNA sequences are only available from 2 Gogatea spp. in Southeast Asia. Our goal was to assess the diversity of Gogatea and explore the validity of Szidatia. In the present study, we studied morphology of freshly collected, quality cyathotylids from snakes in Vietnam, Thailand and Australia. Fragments of the large ribosomal subunit (28S) rDNA and cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) mtDNA genes were sequenced from a subset of specimens. The new and previously published DNA sequences were used to test the monophyly of Gogatea and explore interrelationships of cyathocotylids from snakes. In doing so, we obtained some insights into the unique biogeographic and host-switching history of these parasites, and revealed the presence of 2 new species of Gogatea from Vietnam and Australia. The current study expands the knowledge of the diversity and interrelationships of cyathocotylids parasitic in snakes.


American Midwestern Conference of Parasitologists, University System of Georgia

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