A phylogenetic study of 8 North American and European species of frog lung flukes belonging to Haematoloechus was conducted using approximately 850 to 1,000 bases of the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS 1 5.8S ITS 2) and 1,250 bases of the large subunit (LSU) of the nuclear ribosomal DNA. Adequate phylogenetic resolution could not be obtained from 5.8S or ITS 2 data. Analysis of ITS 1 data produced 2 equally parsimonious trees that differed only in the position of Haematoloechus breviplexus relative to H. medioplexus and H. varioplexus. Single, identical trees were produced by analysis of both LSU sequence data and a data set comprised of all ITS and LSU data. All trees demonstrated 3 distinct evolutionary lineages within the Holarctic Haematoloechus examined. The results confirmed the taxonomic validity of H. abbreviatus and demonstrated that the presence or absence of extracecal uterine loops is not a character meaningful to the recognition of evolutionary lineages or differentiation of genera. Examination of ITS sequence data revealed almost no intraspecific variation within 5 species of Haematoloechus and demonstrated an approximately 150-base indel common to the North American H. longiplexus and the European H. asper. Two of 3 clades revealed by the phylogenetic analyses are comprised of both European and North American species, indicating that lineages of Haematoloechus arose before the breakup of Laurasia and radiated after Eurasia and North America split. Within each of 3 evolutionary lineages, members share similar patterns of arthropod host specificity distinct from patterns found in the other lineages. This suggests that second intermediate host specificity may be a trait that has been conserved through evolutionary time.
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